About Beth

Stay at home mom with very entertaining twin girls.

Turtles, Turtles and More Turtles – Grand Cayman

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Our second port on our Carnival Magic Cruise was Grand Cayman. The last time we were there we did the turtles and the dolphins. We had so much fun at the Turtle Farm we decided to go again. Apparently everyone in Grand Cayman that day had read my raving review of the turtle farm too. It was so packed we couldn’t even hear our tour guide. The turtles were still adorable though. Once the tour part was over we were able to go off on our own and the crowds seemed much better.

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The difference between this excursion and the dolphin/turtle combo was that this one included lunch, you could swim with the turtles and you had access to their water park. Snorkeling with the turtles was Megan’s favorite part of the trip. I had to skip that part because Taylor refused to swim with fish. :/ The food was awful.

The water park…

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Megan in the water with the turtles…

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The girls favorite part of lunch…watching the chickens. They got a lot of food from us since we didn’t eat much of it.

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I didn’t think I was ever going to get Taylor away from the turtle pens.

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Snorkeling with the turtles….

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Iguanas were everywhere. On the ground, in the trees, on the buildings… This was a baby one.

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The bird aviary…

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Apparently this has been a problem in the past…

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Grand Cayman is a tender port. It was the most miserable tender ever. It was hot, humid, we were surrounded by drunk people, and there was a storm coming in. Those 4 things don’t go well together at all. The water was so rocky, they had trouble docking the tender boats to the ship. So we were stuck on the tender boat in the rocky water with drunk people throwing up all around us. One girl was so intoxicated she had to be brought on in a wheelchair after she collapsed. Fun, fun times!

Today’s Leopard Print Find…Star Vixen Women’s 3/4 Sleeve Faux Wrap Dress

Grand Palladium Resort – Montego Bay Jamaica

 

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Our first port on our Carnival Magic cruise was Montego Bay, Jamaica. Last time we just stayed on the ship because most of the excursions were so far away. This time we decided to venture out a little bit. The all-inclusive excursion at the Grand Palladium resort was only a 30 minute bus ride and it seemed pretty safe. The girls said the bus ride was their favorite part because they got to see goats, dogs and a donkey. Just taking a bus ride would have been a lot cheaper. This excursion was $114.99 per adult and $79.99 per child.

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The description was a little misleading. It said there were 4 pools – there were, but they were all connected together so it was really just one giant pool. It also said there was a lazy river. There was no lazy river. The swim-up bar was nice but it was way too crowded, so we just took advantage of the much less crowded land bar. The beach was really pretty, but it was so rocky we decided to just stay at the pool. The information on the website also said that they had many water sport rentals available. We never saw any and someone finally told us that it was about a 20 minute walk on the other side of the resort. We also didn’t see any of the other activities that were mentioned (mini golf, archery, tennis, etc…) They did have some fun activities around the pool though. We got to see a belly flop contest. The lunch buffet was traditional Jamaican food on one side or American food on the other side. We weren’t big fans of the food.

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This was one of the four jacuzzi’s in the pool….

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So to recap, the place was gorgeous. I spoke to a few people while we were eating lunch and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. I probably would have preferred it as an actual place to stay than as a quick pit stop on our cruise.

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Today’s Leopard Print Find: Lucky Women’s Emmie Ballet Flat

Carnival Magic Cruise Round 2

It has been so long since I blogged that I forgot where to go, how to log in and what to do. :/ But  I finally figured it out and I’m back!! I have so many things to share that I didn’t know where to start. I just dropped the girls off for their first real camp. :/ I only cried a little. So they were only slightly embarrassed. Between the two of them they had 2 huge stuffed trunks, a Costco size pack of water bottles, 2 carry ons, a blanket and 10 pieces of “mail”. That was quite an ordeal. Now they are gone for 3 days, so I’m starting with where I’d rather be right now. On a cruise….

After our great cruise on the Carnival Magic for our 20th Anniversary, we decided to take the girls back with us. We had a great time. The girls only complaint….they absolutely hate Camp Carnival. They tried it once before when we were on the Conquest but they were younger so I thought maybe now it would be better. Not so much…. There were kids just waiting by the door praying their parents were about to pick them up. The counselors didn’t seem very fun and the activities weren’t enticing at all. That program needs a lot of work. But they were fine hanging out with us. Most of the time that was okay, minus the girl we saw that decided to hula hoop topless and the 78 year old man that won the Hairy Chest Competition that gave out his room number and said he had his Viagra. :/ On the positive side….

We played miniature golf…

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Megan was more than thrilled to have bunk beds…

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Our favorite hangout…the RedFrog Pub

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Shuffleboard… (really need one of these at home)

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Movies by the pool…

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Dodgeball…

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Met the captain…

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Went to towel animal class…

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Met a live towel animal…

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Walked the Skycourse…

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Made our way around copying all the poses….

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Loved the Family Comedy shows…

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Played lots of Skip-Bo…

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Got our daily towel animal…

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Exercised on the deck…

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Laser tag…

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and had an awesome waiter…

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I’ll recap the excursions for y’all later. Not our favorites, but lots of good learnings.

Oh how I’ve missed these….

Today’s Leopard Print find….Rockland Luggage 4 Piece Luggage Set

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

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Today we had to have quite a bit of work done on our sprinkler system. My learning from this…. If you are going to have Chemlawn aerate your lawn, you are supposed to flag your sprinkler heads and station covers. Seriously?? I’ve never seen anyone in our neighborhood do that before and if that’s the case, they might want to tell people this in advance. I can think of so many other things that I would have liked to spend that money on…several new outfits, a new flip flop wardrobe, cruise for 1, weekend getaway, 300 chocolate chip cookies from Paradise Bakery….. :/  One of these days I need to figure out how to make Paradise cookies. In the meantime, these will do….

They were awesome. Slightly crispy on the edge and soft and chewy in the middle.

2 1/4 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 large Eggs
2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cups Pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add the salt, vanilla and eggs. Beat well, about 1 minute.

Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake until cookies are slightly golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Servings: 36
Calories 185
Total Fat 11.5g
Total Carbohydrates 18.9g
Dietary Fiber 1.0g
Protein 2.3g
Nutrition Grade D

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Kenneth Cole Reaction Women’s Get In Slip On

Easter Cake Pops

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Today we had a cake pop making party. The girls love decorating them. I used the same recipe as last time. You can find the recipe here.  Still have some work to do on the decorating part of them. The sprinkled ones are so much easier to do than the animal ones.

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I couldn’t find the stand to hold them up, so we improvised. I used a trifle dish lined with Peeps. In the center we filled it with Jordan almonds and jelly beans. It worked perfectly.

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We made chickens and bunnies. For the chickens we used leaf sprinkles for the wings, feet and hair. We used triangles for the beak. For the bunnies, we used sliced almonds for the ears, chocolate sprinkles for the whiskers, eyes and pink dots for the nose and tail.  I found all of them at Michaels.

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Today’s Leopard Print Find: Reef Women’s Reef Heart Breaker Sandal

Apple Dumplings

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This is one of my favorite desserts. It is even better as leftovers the next day, if you have any left over. I listed the ice cream as optional, but really it isn’t. Add a scoop and drizzle some of the sauce on top. Trust me, you’ll thank me. As an added bonus, if you eat the whole thing it can count as a serving of fruit. :)

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1 Apple
1 can (8 Oz) Crescent Rolls
1/3 cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Oz (4 Tbs) Sprite
Ice Cream (optional but highly recommended)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 8×8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Peel and core apple. Cut apple into 8 slices.

Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll and place in baking dish.

Melt butter on stove top. Add sugar and stir just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over apples.

Pour Sprite around the edges of the pan and between the two rows of dumplings. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 35 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sauces from the pan over the top.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Servings: 8
Calories 221
Total Fat 9.5g
Total Carbohydrates 31.5g
Dietary Fiber 1.3g
Protein 3.2g
Nutrition Grade D

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Havaianas by Lori Jack “Top” Swarovski Crystal Flip Flops (41/42, Black/Leopard)

Chicken Cordon Bleu

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My mom made this for us all the time when I was growing up. It was always one of my favorites. Taylor and Megan have different tastes apparently. You would have thought I served them a plate of snails. It took me forever just to get them to taste it. Megan finally admitted that “it was okay”. Taylor (being the more stubborn one) would never admitted that she liked it even if she did. She picked out the ham and swiss and just ate one bite of plain chicken. She sure was awfully hungry at breakfast the next morning.

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4 Boneless Chicken Breasts, split (skinned)
4 Thin Slices Lean Cooked Ham
4 Thin Slices Swiss Cheese
Parsley/Garlic Powder Seasoning
1/3 cup Fine Dry Bread Crumbs
2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil

Flatten chicken breasts slightly with a mallet. Place a ham and a cheese slice on each chicken piece. Sprinkle with the parsley/garlic powder. Roll up chicken to enclose ham and cheese. Blend bread crumbs with oil and place on a flat plate. Press each chicken roll into the mixture to coat lightly. Place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until chicken is tender.

From my Mama.

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Yellow Box Women’s Acedia Flip Flop

Glazed Lemon Muffins

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We got a juicer last month and every time I put lemons in it I hated to throw away all of the fluffy lemon zest. So I finally decided to make some muffins with it. If you don’t have a juicer you can still just use the normal zesting method. Trying this with oranges tomorrow.

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups Bread Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
6 oz vanilla Low-Fat Vanilla Yogurt
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 large Lemon (pulp and juice from juicer, or zest and juice if you don’t have a juicer)
1 cup Sugar
2 large Eggs

Glaze:
1-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with baking liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. On low-speed, mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Mix in 1/2 of the yogurt mixture. Alternate until all combined.

Divide evenly among muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

Set rack over wax paper. In a small bowl, stir powdered sugar with lemon juice and water until smooth. Pour over muffins, spreading to edges with a small knife. Let set for 30 minutes.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Servings: 12
Calories 259
Total Fat 8.8g
Total Carbohydrates 43.4g
Protein 2.8g
Nutrition Grade D-

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Grazie Women’s Peacock Flip Flop (I got these in blue & green and I love them!) You can see the other 2 colors when you click the picture.

Must Have Hair Brushes

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Remember Cousin It? Picture him if he didn’t brush his hair for 3 days, that’s what Taylor usually looks like when she wakes up in the morning. It used to be quite an ordeal to tame her hair. To get the tangles out of her hair after she washes it was even worse. My friend suggested The Wet Brush. I was skeptical, but I couldn’t believe how it glided through wet hair. Megan is super, super tender headed so she loves it even more. Bless her heart for going through the first 10 years of her life without one.

Today I found out about The Shine Brush. It detangles AND adds luster to the hair. I love it.

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The Shine Brush

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The Wet Brush

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You can also get The Wet Brush in prints.

You can find them in salons or here on Amazon….

The Wet Brush…

The Shine Brush…

My only complaint is that they don’t have it in leopard.

Today’s Leopard Print FInd: (I decided to make this flip flop week) Leopard Printed Petals-embellished Floral Strap Women Flip-flop – Yellow

Crock Pot Vegetable Beef Stew

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Sorry, I didn’t take the time to find good lighting for this. I promise it tasted a lot better than it looks. We had such a cold, windy, cloudy, rainy weekend here that I figured I wouldn’t find the right light anyway… I was trying to make something that didn’t require a lot of my time because I also had to make lemon muffins, corn bread and apple dumplings. It took me less than 5 minutes to throw this together. Definitely doing this again for when I need a crock pot meal.

2 lbs Stew Meat
2 (14.5 oz) cans Beef Broth
12 oz bag Frozen Vegetables with peas, corn and green beans
4 New Potatoes, each cut into 8 pieces
1 envelope Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
1/2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
Pinch Pepper
Pinch Garlic Salt

Place meat in crock pot. Add frozen vegetables and potatoes. Add beef broth. Stir in onion soup mix, Worcestershire, pepper and garlic salt.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

Servings: 5
Calories 519
Total Fat 13.0g
Total Carbohydrates 34.0g
Dietary Fiber 5.1g
Protein 62.2g
Nutrition Grade A-

Today’s Leopard Print Find:  Yellow Box Women’s Lundy Flip Flop