Happy Birthday To Us!

So, it’s November 6th, also known our birthday! It was a “Fun Day At Sea” aboard our Carnival Cruise Ship.  My son and I started the day with room service bringing us breakfast in bed. It felt so nice not having to move in the morning and just having breakfast brought to me. After that we took our time getting ready and then ventured around the ship. We walked past a show in the lobby and decided to sit and watch for a while. While watching the show Elijah ordered a kids Piña Colada and kicked back. 

After the show Elijah told me that he wanted to spend his birthday in the kid’s club. My son absolutely loves the kid’s club onboard the cruise ship, he always begs me to spend the day in there. I wanted to spend the day with him but I obliged, and took advantage of the fact that I had some adult time. I went to the adults only section of the boat, got myself a nice Mudslide, and relaxed until dinner time.


Dinner was absolutely delicious. For an appetizer I got the shrimp cocktail which is my go to appetizer. My main entree was a flat iron steak, cooked medium rare, and seasoned to perfection. Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more full it was time for desert.

For desert I ordered the “Carnival’s Melting Chocolate Cake” with vanilla ice cream on the side. Just as I thought I was finished with my desert the servers came out with mini birthday cakes for my son and I. There was more desert than I knew what to do with.


After dinner we went to the theater to watch the show. The show of the night was “88 Keys” it was about very popular piano songs. This line up included a lot of Long Island’s own, Billy Joel, so I was in heaven.

All in all I had a very good birthday. Nothing is better than spending my birthday with my son.

Until our next adventure,

Ela
(Updated November 12, 2017 to fix picture issues!)

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Miami Seaquarium & Boarding Our Ship

My son woke up super excited yesterday knowing that it was time to “go on the big cruise boat”. Our boarding time wasn’t until 1:30 though so we had a good amount of time to waste before we got on board. We started the day with some breakfast at a nearby hotel. Walking distance from our hotel was a Holiday Inn, that offered an inexpensive buffet breakfast; kids under 10 eat free so that was an added bonus.


After we filled our bellies we decided to head to the Miami Seaquarium. There was a groupon online which gave us 50% off the entrance fee. I thought this would be an extremely nice aquarium given the price to enter was very expensive, but I was highly disappointed. Large mammals swam in tanks that were obviously too small for their size, and to top it off there wasn’t much to see. We got to the park at 10:30am and we had seen everything, and even had lunch, by 12:30.


We left the Seaquarium and made our way to the cruise port. We had the perfect boarding time! It’s the first time I’ve selected a late boarding time and I will absolutely do it every time in the future. When you boarding at 1:30 you aren’t forced to sit with your luggage on the Lido Deck, because, your room is ready for you upon arrival. After checking in we went straight to our room to put our stuff away then off we went to get some lunch at the buffet. I always enjoy the food aboard Carnival ships, so I have no complaints there.


After eating lunch it was time to explore the ship. This ship is a bit confusing to navigate (The Carnival Splendor), but thank goodness I have the Carnival Hub app so I was able to navigate a bit more easily. We quickly discovered the splash park, which my son spent an hour at before we headed back to the room to get ready for the night. We were both exhausted, so we decided to watch the “Dive-in” movie and then call it quits. We absolutely love movie night on board. Sitting outside in the fresh air , and eating freshly popped popcorn is so relaxing! All in all it was a good first day on board our Carnival cruise. Can’t wait to see what the rest of this vacation has in store for us!

Until our next adventure!

Ela

Let The Birthday Fun Begin!

Let The Birthday Fun Begin!

There’s one time of year that this low budget traveling mama goes way beyond the normal spending. That would be my, and my son’s birthday (first week in November). We’re going on a fun cruise and I’ll be posting about our birthday adventures on the blog posts to come! Whenever I take a cruise, I always leave a day early to the port. So this time I’ll be overnighting in Miami.


This year I decided to splurge on some first class plane tickets. Now the tickets are only from New York to Miami but it’s something special I could give to my son, and myself for our birthday. My son quickly sat down, put on his headphones, and selected a movie, “The Polar Express”. I sat down, drank mimosa after mimosa, and flipped through Instagram for a bit before deciding to watch “Kidnapped”. Eventually it was time to each lunch, we both chose the chicken ramen, and it was actually really yummy. The chicken was tender and seasoned to perfection. Our plane ride was smooth, we landed into Miami 10 minutes early, and went directly to our hotel.


We stayed at the EB Hotel Miami. This isn’t a budget hotel but it’s also not very expensive. This hotel is about a 10 minute car ride from the airport and walking distance from fast food restaurants. Burger King and Pollo Tropical can be found right next door to this hotel. The lobby is very nice, with a bar that offers happy hour every night. Our hotel room was very spacious with plenty of storage space. This hotel also has a very nice pool area, the pool itself is nothing special, but the seating area around the pool is very nice and furnished with couches and tables so you can enjoy yourself and relax outside. My son and I hung outside for a while and enjoyed the sunshine before we left for dinner.


When dinner time rolled around we decided to grab a bite at the Monster Bite Food Truck. This was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel, and was actually right in the parking lot of some other Miami Airport Hotels. Although the food was a little bit expensive for my taste the portion sizes were plentisome, we had so much food left over. If you’re looking to try something a little different I’d definitely keep the Monster Bite Food Truck in mind. My son and I enjoyed our food very much.

Stay tuned to hear about what we do next!

Until Our Next Adventure,

Ela

Fall On Long Island

Fall On Long Island

It has been a weird fall season in New York this year, the weather has been 80 degrees Fahrenheit one day and 40 degrees Fahrenheit the next, making it hard to plan fall festivities accordingly. That hasn’t stopped my son and I from enjoying some of New York’s treasured fall activities.

We started our October by visiting Hank’s Pumpkin Town in Watermill Long Island.  This location has the best apple cider and pumpkin spice donuts that you’ll ever eat.  Also on weekends they have a huge assortment of freshly baked pies and breads. Let’s not forget my absolute favorite fall staple, roasted corn, dipped in melted butter, with seasoned salt. Just thinking of their delicious corn makes my mouth water! Besides the food, Hank’s Pumpkin Town has a lot to offer.  Hank’s offers apple picking, pumpkin picking, a train ride, 2 corn mazes, and many activities for the kids.  You can easily spend hours at Hank’s Pumpkin Town without getting bored, the larger corn maze by it’s self is given an hour walk through time

The next place we visited was Harbe’s Vineyard (Harbe’s Family Farm). This location has a vineyard, along with activities for kids, snack shacks, live music, pumpkin picking, and a corn maze. Harbe’s Farm has multiple locations but the Harbe’s Vineyard (Family Farm) location has so much to do for the children. This was my first time visiting Harbe’s and I enjoyed it very much. The roasted corn is not as good as the corn from Hank’s but it is enjoyable.  The activities they had for the children at this location were plentisome; my son easily spent 4 hours just in the activity center. I recommend that families with children, and even couples without children should make a stop at Harbe’s during the fall season on Long Island.

There is so much to do and see on Long Island all year long, but ask any Long Islander what they’re favorite season is and a vast majority of them will answer with fall, for all the fall activities this island has to offer. Along with pumpkin patches, apple picking, corn mazes, vineyards, roasted corn, and apple cider, Long Island also has a lot of Haunted Houses to visit. During the day the Haunted Houses are kid friendly, and at night they turn up the horror for the adults. Everyone should think about making Long Island their fall destination.

Until Our Next Adventure,

Ela

Puerto Rico Update!

Puerto Rico Update!

 

RICARDO ARDUENGO.AFP.Getty Images.jpg
Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. RICARDO ARDUENGO/Getty Images

 

Hi all! I just wanted to write a quick update on the disaster relief efforts that have been made. I have received so many donations from all of you, its absolutely amazing!  I was planning to go to Puerto Rico personally to distribute the items, but unfortunately I have been unsuccessful in finding a return trip from Puerto Rico until the end of October. I want to get all the items down there as soon as possible so I have reached out to some contacts in Puerto Rico and they are more than happy to help me distribute the items amongst local churches. I plan to ship the items by the end of this week via cargo and my contacts in Puerto Rico will take care of it from there.

I will continue collecting items and monetary donations until the last week of October. I have a confirmed tickets down there in November and I plan on delivering more items.

Thank you all so much for your help.

Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

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As many of you know myself and my son travel the world quite often.  We have not been traveling much because my son just started Pre-K and his school has been very time consuming.  With all that’s going on with the recent Hurricanes in the Caribbean, my son and I will be dedicating our time and available resources to the victims in Puerto Rico.

I have started creating some care packages to bring down to Puerto Rico, and I have been seeing a lot of posts from people who would like to help the victims but don’t know how. I will be accepting donations to purchase supplies and bring down to Puerto Rico.  I am accepting monetary donations so I can create more care packages. 100% OF DONATIONS WILL BE USED TO PURCHASE THE SUPPLIES FOR THE VICTIMS OF HURRICANE IRMA AND MARIA.

I am accepting monetary donations through Paypal or QuickPay/Zelle.

QuickPay/Zelle: travelwithela@gmail.com

PayPal: Click Here To Donate Via PayPal

(My PayPal is set up through my photography business, “Frozen Moments Photography by Ela”, so don’t be alarmed, that is the correct link to donate)

If you are not comfortable donating money and would rather donate items, I have set up a “Wist List” on Amazon of the items needed and it will ship directly to my address so I can bring the items down to Puerto Rico.  To access the “Wish List” click here.

Here are a list of some of the supplies that are needed:

  • Water
  • First Aid Kits
  • Flash Lights with batteries
  • Non Perishable Food Items
  • Medicines
  • Clothes in Good Condition
  • Diapers (and other baby items)
  • Hygiene Items: Soap, Shampoo, Condition, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Toilet Paper (looking for travel size items so it’s easier to distribute)
  • Feminine Hygiene Products: Tampons, Pads

 

I also have a friend who runs a Non-Profit Organization “The Bel Esprit Cultural Institute” which donates school supplies to less fortunate countries.  She has decided to dedicate her organizations time and resources to gathering school supplies for the victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  If you’re interested in donating money to her organization you can do so by clicking here.

Kalahari Waterpark (Poconos, PA)

Kalahari Waterpark (Poconos, PA)

So Easter just passed, and I didn’t want to just sit home or do Chuck E Cheese, yet again with my son. I was thinking of taking a road trip up to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania but I soon learned that it wasn’t open during the week. What now?! What can I do that I won’t have to spend a fortune?! After some research I decided on the Kalahari Waterpark in the Poconos. After trying to find anyone to take the road trip with me, with no luck, it was just going to be my son and I. So an hour after deciding on our trip we embarked on our journey. After 4 hours of driving, including pulling over a couple of times to soak in the scenery, we made it to our hotel for the night.


After doing some research on Kalahari Resorts I decided to stay off property and just buy day passes to the Waterpark. Since it’s just my son and I, this was the less expensive option. For a one night stay at the resort (Waterpark passes included) the Kalahari Resort was charging $560. I decided on staying at the Best Western At Blakesee-Pocono. I paid $65 for the one night stay at the Best Western, and then the day pass at Kalahari was $99 per person.  So instead of paying $560 to stay at the Kalahari Resort, I paid $265 for our hotel plus day passes. Now if you’re a larger family, then staying at the resort may actually be worth it instead of paying $100 per person for a day pass to the resort. So just compare prices before going and purchasing your hotel stay (if you’re trying to find the best deal).


After sleeping the night at the Best Western, we grabbed some free breakfast, and made our way to Kalahari for a fun filled day. The Kalahari resort was a 15 minute drive from our hotel. Walking in the building I became a little overwhelmed, it’s not a typical resort lobby. There was a lot going on and not many signs to direct you where to go. Once I made my way to the lower level I was blown away by the size of the arcade, it was like walking into Dave and Busters. I also noticed they had indoor mini golf, and an adventure park (zip lines) outside. If I had known in advance how much this place had to offer I would’ve stayed more than one day. Going to Kalahari could easily be a nice 3 day weekend getaway.


Once we made it into the Waterpark section I was instantly happy with choosing Kalahari over the competitors nearby. The temperature in the room was warm enough not to need a towel, water temperatures were nice enough to swim all day, and there was enough to do so that each age group could enjoy themselves (they even have a 21+ swim up bar for the adults).  The larger slides they have have a minimum height of 48 inches. Also if your child is under 48 inches they are required to wear a life jacket (or puddle jumper) regardless of swimming ability. If you don’t have either of those, don’t worry, both of those options are provided by the facility.

Overall, I highly recommend Kalahari for a nice family get away.  Every age group will have a great time. 

Have any questions?! Or additional details?! Leave them in the comments section, I’ll be sure to reply.

Until next time,

-Ela