Posts Tagged by Travel
|January 2, 2015||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Family|
TGIF my friends! We are on our back to Georgia after an amazing two weeks with family. We wrapped up our visit to Phoenix last night with one last family dinner and our flight leaves later this morning. While I am excited to be home in my own bed with my fur-babies, leaving Arizona is always bittersweet. The desert is my home and I long for the day we don’t have to leave it. But that’s the life of an Army family right? Sigh. Any-who … I thought I’d keep this wrap-up of our Arizona trip short and sweet in a Five for Friday version!
1. Crazy Hat Picture 2014
Somehow many years ago my mom and step-dad started the tradition of taking a crazy Christmas hat photo. It was one of those ways of creating blended family memories. It’s been a tradition since and it’s been fun looking back on those photos as to how our family has grown over the years. New spouses, new babies, and more. We took this photo with just my sister and her family the night we got in town to see how the set-up would work. We took the REAL photo the next day with my step-siblings (I don’t want to put their kiddos on the internet without permission and my sister’s kids have already made their debut here) which was twice as big as this one.
2. Bryn was Baptized!
One of the big highlights of this leg of our trip was Bryn’s baptism. It is so amazing to get to have her baptized in our family’s church with all of her family surrounding her. The Catholic church is pretty strict when it comes to the sacraments so we were thankful we were able to work it out for her to get baptized while we were home
3. The Fantastic Four
I don’t know the last time my sister, half-brothers, and I were all in a picture together so it was fun getting a sibling shot when I was home. I have 6 brothers and sisters now but it is a yours/mine/ours family. As my brother Jack dubbed us, we are the Fantastic Four since we have the same dad. Side note: this is also the first year that I am officially the shortest of my siblings. I am nearly 5’9 so that’s not an easy thing to do and I was shocked haha.
4. We enjoyed the fire pit
My parents recently remodeled their backyard and put in an awesome fire pit. One of my best friends from high school came over for wine and s’mores and we got to catch up. The best friends are the ones that there can be years between when you see each other but it’s like things never changed. Love you Kelley!
5. We went to the Fiesta Bowl
I am heartbroken to say that my beloved Wildcats lost to the Boise State Broncos but it was a lot of fun cheering them on at the Fiesta Bowl. Chris and I went with my brother-in-law and two nephews and we had a blast. It ended up being a great game and made for awesome family memories.
Now we are gearing up for the cross-country trek back to the Deep South and are praying that the girls do as well on this leg as they did the last. So far there haven’t been repeats of our last flying with two disaster so keep your fingers crossed for me will ya?
Have a great weekend!
|December 26, 2014||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Family, Travel|
Happy Friday friends! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that Santa was good to you We are wrapping up our adventures in Vegas and are hopping on a plane for the second half of our vacay in Phoenix! Wanted to pop in and share some of our adventures here
Christmas is one of my father-in-laws favorite times of the year and the outside of their house can rival any Christmas light show, however, going to look at Christmas lights is one of his favorite things to do. So we loaded in the car and headed down to Ethel M’s for their outdoor Christmas light display!
We had a great time walking around and looking at the lights. The highlight of Emma’s experience though was the chocolate store We got amazing hot chocolate and other treats to take with us. This Christmas light display was FREE and a ton of fun!
Mastro’s Las Vegas
Martin and Yon wanted to take us out to a nice dinner one night and arranged for a babysitter to watch the girls. Martin had a great year at work and they also wanted to celebrate my first year of PA school so we went to Mastro’s. We wined and dined and had a great time! The filet minon was perfection and the lobster mashed potatoes (!!!) are a MUST.
One morning we made the 30-minute drive up Mount Charleston for breakfast. Getting up in the mountains is one of my favorite things and the views didn’t disappoint! The little lodge was quaint and the food delicious. However, word to the wise, the pancakes are MASSIVE. In fact all the portions were huge so we had way too much food!
Emma got a little boo-boo while on our trip. We took her to the park and she was swinging. She must have leaned back and lost her balance but she did a back flip off the swings. Thank God she was ok! A little scrape on the forehead was all we got but my heart nearly stopped!
Chris and I aren’t big spenders when it comes to gambling but I LOVE the penny slots! I discovered the Zuma one on this trip and had a ton of fun …. and walked away with $90! Too bad we had NO IDEA what was going on – we just kept hitting the bet button HA.
Lastly, you MUST try this wine! I am not a huge red wine girl – it gives me a headache – but this Unruly Zin is truly phenomenal. I just googled it online to see where in AZ I can pick some up for my family
Next time I blog I will be back home in the dessert! Have a great weekend friends!
|September 25, 2014||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Travel|
How is it already Thursday? YIKES! With starting my Clean Eating Challenge and helping out with the last round of interviews for next year’s PA school class the week got away from me. Rather than draw out this recap here are 10 fun thing from our trip to Disney World.
1. We Love/Hate Water Slides
Our first day in Florida we headed to Blizzard Beach in the morning. Emmie had a love/hate relationship with the slides. She went down it for a few times and then got stuck and that was that. Ha.
2. Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Presley and I couldn’t have planned it better if we tried. Somehow we were at Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival! We totally ate our way around the world. The best things I had was the lobster alfredo in America and this amazing grapefruit beer in Germany.
3. Two Toddlers is in a Hotel Room is Insane
Chris and Ryne had to go activate our tickets so Presley and I hung at the hotel room with the kids. Maddux and Emmie were out of control and instant BFFs. After hitting their heads repeatedly on the headboard, running around like crazy people, and yelling we finally convinced them to snuggle in until the daddy’s got back. However, having 3 kids in there made me rethink my whole wanting another kid thing ha.
4. Animal Kingdom Rocks
Our time at Animal Kingdom was short lived but we did manage to get a safari ride in. Emmalyne was hilarious. She yelled out all the animals she saw and also pointed them out on the gams spotter poster. She was so excited which made my heart full. Which brings me to the next point …
5. Being Sick Stinks
Emmie came down with something at Animal Kingdom and we ended up having to make a trip to urgent care for Zofran after a few episodes in the hotel and car. Chris and I were so worried that her trip to Magic Kingdom would be ruined but luckily the meds did the trick and she rallied.
6. We’re Not Sure About the Princesses
After waiting in line for 40 minutes we finally had the chance to meet Anna and Elsa. And Emmie was not impressed. Sigh.
6. Bryn is the Easiest Baby Ever
No really. She is. I don’t know how I got so lucky. She was so happy the entire weekend and just went with the flow. She LOVED Dumbo and was completely transfixed by Finding Nemo. Seeing so much joy in her eyes made me happy.
8. Traveling with Friends is Awesome
Seriously. Do it. Presley and I have been friends for going on 3 years now and luckily when Chris and Ryne met they hit it off. This was our first vacation together as families and it went perfectly. We are already planning our next trip for next summer
That’s pretty much our trip in a nut shell. I plan on talking a little bit more about where we stayed soon! We had a great trip and certainly made lots of memories!
|September 19, 2014||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Travel|
I’ve already shared where to eat in Charleston so now it’s time to start sharing some of the fun that we had! When we began planning our trip months ago one of the things we knew we wanted to do was get outside and active while still exploring the city. My suggestion to Chris was that we go kayaking. I went kayaking years ago around Catalina Island and had a blast and knew he would too. We ended up using Nature Adventures for our kayaking in Charleston adventure and booked the 2-hour tour at $40 each.
Chris and I arrived just before 8AM to the dock on Shem Creek. The staff was incredibly warm and welcoming as they got us checked in and our waivers signed. Our guide for the day was Will (hi Will!) and he was fantastic! We honestly couldn’t ask for better weather. It was actually overcast with some fog which actually makes for beautiful kayaking. The water was calm and flat and absolutely beautiful.
We started our tour by paddling out Shem Creek and around “bird island”. Bird island is actually a bird sanctuary and there is a huge fine to land on it during particular times of year. Will said that many of the birds had left but at the height of the summer there were tens of thousands of birds raising their offspring there! He also pointed out to us how to tell if a seagull was a baby (more white) or not which was interesting. In fact, throughout the entire trip Will was able to identify and tell us about the different animals we saw which made it even more fascinating!
Due to the fact that there was a fog over the water we couldn’t really see downtown Charleston but that was ok. We ended up paddling by some of the houses on Mount Pleasant which was really amazing. These houses are seriously amazing. Did you know that Charleston has one of the most expensive zip codes in the entire country? I sure didn’t. But after seeing these houses I believe it!
We were out kayaking for just over 2 hours when we headed back into Shem Creek and towards the dock. That’s when the absolute BEST part of our tour happened …. there were about 4 dolphins swimming right next to us! I mean really …. one of them came up right next to my kayak. There were 3 adults and a baby and really just an amazing experience. I have always wanted to swim with dolphins so this was a pretty incredible second best. I am pretty bummed we didn’t catch a picture but those guys are fast!
Overall if you’re looking to go kayaking in Charleston make sure to check out Nature Adventures. I definitely suggest getting the 8AM tour because it was just Will and us. The later tour had WAY more people. Also, the earlier you go the less hot it is Thanks for an awesome tour Will!
How do you explore on your vacations?
|September 17, 2014||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Restaurants, Travel|
Chris and I are officially back from Charleston and had an amazing experience. It was a wonderful three days focusing on our marriage and having fun as a couple. Getting that quality time together was a true gift and I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate 5 years of marriage! I am planning on putting together a couple of recaps about what we did in Charleston because it is such a great place to visit. One of the things Charleston is known for is its food and it did not disappoint. We didn’t have a bad experience so this post is dedicated to where to eat in Charleston!
Low Country Bistro
The first place Chris and I went was Low Country Bistro for lunch. Low Country Bistro came highly recommended by many of our friends and I am so glad we went. We started with the spinach and crab dip appetizer. I have to say I’ve never had a spinach dip where they pureed the spinach but it worked! Then we split the chicken and waffle. It was a sweet potato bacon corn bread waffle, crispy half bone-in chicken, pecan butter, bourbon reduction. For $3.00, they split the chicken portion and gave each of us our own waffle. The chicken skin was seriously crispy and the pecan butter was divine! After living in the south for over 2 years this was my first chicken and waffle experience and I have to say the bar is set high.
Craftsman Tap House
The next place we ventured was to Craftsman Tap House. Craftsman Tap House is a restaurant focused on American craft beer and food made from fresh and local ingredients. In fact, they change their menu daily based on what they are getting in! We started with the BBQ pork spring rolls with vegetable kim chee and sweet and spicy sauce. These were to. die. for! For our main course Chris and I shared the brisket tacos with caramelized onions and peppers with salsa verde. Another winner. Of course we also had to have a beer I got the Welder’s Agave brewed on James Island. It was like a wheat beer and you could really taste the agave finish. You can find their daily menu on their Facebook page!
For dessert Chris and I hit up Kaminsky’s after Googling “best dessert in Charleston” and Google delivered! I ordered the berry pie and Chris got the chocolate chip cookie sundae. The berry pie was unbelievable and you can never go wrong with a cookie sundae. Kaminsky’s also serves a wide variety of cocktails which all looked amazing.
Lunch on Saturday took us to Fleet Landing which is one of the only Charleston restaurants directly on the water. Since the weather was nice, Chris and I sat outside on the patio. There’s just something special about sitting on the water! For our appetizer we got the stuffed hush puppies which were filled with a veloute of lobster, rock shrimp, leeks, & corn over creole tomato sauce. You guys – these hush puppies were one of the best things I’ve ever eaten! For our meals, Chris ordered the fried pork chops with homestyle mashed potatoes and gravy and southern style beans. The pork chops were delicious and only lightly fried. I ordered the flounder sandwich with cajun tartar sauce and it was also exceptional!
Halls Chop House
To celebrate our anniversary Chris took me to Halls Chop House. Halls is definitely an amazing choice if you are looking for a fine dining (and therefore $$) experience in Charleston. One of the most unique things about Halls is that when you are getting ready to order your server brings out a tray with all the different cuts of meat and explains them all to you. Now I know that a porterhouse is half NY strip and half filet! For my meal I ordered a petit file with creamy gorgonzola sauce and grilled scallops. The sides are served family style so Chris and I shared lobster mac-and-cheese and loaded mashed potatoes. Everything was amazingly delicious and we left completely stuffed.
For our last day, Chris and I walked to TOAST for breakfast on the recommendation of a friend. It was a simple cafe with excellent service. I got the order of French toast and sausage. The French toast was thick and I think had some nutmeg. Delicious! I also got a side order of scrambled eggs. If you’re looking for something fast and affordable TOAST is a great option! They also have mimosas
Lost Dog Cafe
Our very last foodie stop was on our way out of town to Lost Dog Cafe at Folly Beach. It really reminded me of the Salty Dog Cafe in Hilton Head by how laid back the atmosphere was. The Lost Dog is a popular brunch place and their brunch menu looked amazing, however, I decided on the blacked salmon BLT wrap with cajun mayo. NOM.
Other Places to Eat
Chris and I couldn’t possible attack the entire list of recommendations that we were given from friends, but here are some of the other places for you to check out:
Whew …. that was a LONG post but I definitely didn’t want to miss anything because the food was all THAT good. If you are ever heading to Charleston bring an empty stomach because you just can’t go wrong!
How do you find restaurants on vacation?