Monday, October 29, 2012

Crazy Crunchy Concepts

I've written before about how being 'crunchy' is very subjective. There are so many different levels of crunch and I think we all kind of define them for ourselves. I've written before, to some degree, about how crunchiness plays into my life. I'd really like to hear how it plays into yours, if it does. Even better, I'd like to hear the craziest thing you do that's considered crunchy. It might be something that you think is totally normal, but other people look at you like you have 2 heads when you've told them about it. Share away in the comments!

I've written about how I reuse ziploc bags. Honestly, I think that's pretty basic, but I've gotten some very strange looks for that. Someone even called me cheap. They don't know that being cheap kinda makes me proud! But really, ziploc bags have so much more than one use! I usually get anywhere between 3-10 uses out of them before I 'retire' them. I also get lots of comments about 'mama cloth', my reusable panty liners. But I have to tell you, I wouldn't turn back! They are so much better than disposables AND the cute patterns  are definitely mood enhancers.

Today (and this is what led up to this post) I thought about how I would love a reusable trash bag. I mean, the trash that we do have just goes to a dump, right? How necessary is it that it's bagged? I'm really asking that question, so answer if you know. Instead of using box after box of trash bags, I wonder if I could use something that I could rinse and reuse, then just dump the trash into the trash can outside. That would be awesome. Maybe it already exists! I  haven't mentioned it to my husband yet, but I'm pretty sure he would give me the above mentioned look if I did. Although, I noticed that once I institute things, he's generally perfectly fine with them. But talking about it can quickly become overwhelming.

Anyway, we have cut down on our waste immensely. On any given week, we have way more recycling than trash, but we will always have some trash, so I'm brainstorming ways to make the trash that we do have leave less of a footprint.

So back to the first paragraph. What crunchy things do you do that are a bit.... unorthodox? Creative? Kooky?

Friday, October 26, 2012

7 Quick Takes- Last Minute Style!

--- 1 ---
This is the first time I've ever started quick takes on a Thursday night. Yes, I'm a dedicated quick taker! Usually I'm finishing on Wednesday or Thursday. But since we were gone most of the week, and I have been playing catch up (on sitting on the couch, not on housework), I am just now getting around to it! Did you see my post on our romantic mountain getaway? It was SO much fun!!!

--- 2 ---
One thing I love about us is our ability to enjoy silence. I didn't realize it until almost the end, but we didn't have the radio on in the car the ENTIRE time! I'm talking a 4.5 hour drive Friday, a 2 hour drive Sunday, a 5.5 hour drive Tuesday, and a bunch of 30 minute drives in between. We talked a lot, but we also just held hands and enjoyed the drive and sights a lot in silence. I find something very peaceful in that. Though I can tell when one of us is itching for the silence to be broken because we both say the same thing- "Tell me a story."!

--- 3 ---
In super exciting news this week, Steven got a promotion! As of November 5th, he will go from customer service manager to assistant store manager. We are VERY excited about this and have been (somewhat) patiently waiting for it to happen since the wedding. It means good things for our future, and it is helpful in the here and now, too! The downside is that he will be working a lot more hours, but we are glad to get that out of the way before babies come along (meaning that hopefully he will be promoted again by the time we have a baby or soon after). I'll pick up a little more responsibility around the house since he will be working over 40 hours.

--- 4 ---
Steven and I bought a Living Social coupon for a haunted forest. I used to LOVE going to those in high school! I haven't done one in years because I can't see paying the price for 10 minute of horrifying fun. So I couldn't pass up the deal when I saw it! I was surprised Steven agreed, and I'm almost more excited to see him in the haunted forest than I am to actually experience it myself!

--- 5 ---
Does your state do early voting? Apparently NC does (who knew?). It's awesome because you can vote on one of many days before election day, and in our case we don't have to leave our neighborhood to vote! The closest one is held a mile away at the community center. My regular polling place is about 5 miles away at an elementary school, so not bad at all, but it can't beat one mile! We meant to go this week but got too busy, so we are going to pick a day and go next week, after we do our homework on candidates and fill out a fake ballot to take in with us.

--- 6 ---
The above is ALL you will see about the election on my blog! :) I find that most people who don't agree with your political viewpoints want to get ugly about it instead of having a productive, calm conversation, so I have decided to keep it to myself, with the exception of hubs of course.

--- 7 ---
I've got two guest series ideas in my head that I wanted to throw out there for anyone interested. The first is a series of stories of women who have PCOS having a successful pregnancy, because who doesn't like a happy ending? I've gotten one short submission that I would probably pair with another short one, but I will wait to see if I get any more before actually creating a series. The other is about families (preferably with children), their income, and how they make it work. I want to hear from various income levels and various costs of living. I want to know the nitty gritty (what's your income? what have you had to give up? how do you find balance? how creative are you with your money? how do you supplement your income?), so submitting it for an anonymous guest post is perfectly fine. Let me know if you want to participate and email any submissions to! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Romantic Weekend for Two!

I couldn't post about this in my quick takes last week because it was a surprise, but I booked two nights at The Chalet Inn two months ago as a surprise for Steven. Normally we can't plan much in advance because of his schedule, so as soon as his week of vacation (that he always takes around his birthday) was set in stone, I started googling! We have a list of things we want to accomplish in our first year of marriage, and staying at a B&B was one of them. So I booked it and then had to keep it to myself for TWO MONTHS. It was really hard because I was so excited! We went to Spartanburg (where my parents live) on Friday night for a Saturday wedding. He thought we were just hanging out until Tuesday and then coming back, but the real plan was to leave Spartanburg Sunday and head for the mountains. I wasn't going to tell him until we got in the car on Sunday, but in the car Friday I realized how many ways that plan could fail and he could accidentally find out beforehand. So I decided that I would tell him right then instead, so there was no chance of the surprise getting ruined. As perfect timing would have it, we were getting ready to pass a Harrah's Cherokee billboard and I had planned to take him there during our trip since I had so much fun in Vegas last month and he has never gambled. So I cut him off mid-sentence, pointed at the billboard, and said "We're going there!". My super precious husband asked "What's Harrah's?" LOL!!! So after I explained it to him, he asked when we were going and I said we'd be visiting Tuesday... after two nights in a mountain bed and breakfast. That got him excited and I could see the wheels turn, as he realized I had planned a surprise trip, and he kept getting more and more excited!

So fast forward to Sunday. My mom took us to an AMAZING lunch at The Farmer's Table which is a restaurant that uses all local foods. We headed to the mountains from there and our first stop was at a chocolate factory... of course! We bought a half pound of fudge for us (that we still haven't touched yet... what in the world!?) and the worker gave us two pieces of fudge that weren't big enough to sell. We sat out on the double rocker and ate salted caramel fudge and maple walnut fudge.

After stopping at a local grocery store (we love those!) where we got a big ole pumpkin, we checked into the bed and breakfast. The owners are a married couple and the wife is from the Netherlands so there was a really cute European influence all through the house. She gave us a tour and showed us to our cute little room, which faced the woods in the back. The porch off of our room had a double rocker that we got a lot of use out of.

 They had our names on the sign to welcome us!

 Front of The Chalet Inn

Here is the back... our room is the upper left. 

After we checked in, we walked around the grounds. They had a double hammock (also used a lot by us), double glider, campfire and pond, horse shoes and croquet, and 22 miles of hiking trails! Our room looked over one hiking train which was a really steep path up to see Clingman's Dome. We weren't dressed for a hike, but I wanted to see the view from the top so badly, so we went for it! There was a bench at the top where we rested and took in the views. After that, we rode through Cherokee and then over to Bryson City for Mexican food for dinner.

View of Clingman's Dome from the trail at the B&B

Monday morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the B&B. Both mornings, the food was EXCELLENT and you could tell nothing was just reheated or microwaved. The pastries were flaky, the juices weren't too sweet, and the jams were German. YUM! After breakfast, we went for a hike in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Our gps got us lost on the way there (and took us on some very scary mountain roads that were not paved) and then I got us a little lost once on the trail. We had a lot of fun finding water falls (3!), and seeing the leaves as the sun hit them at different angles. After our hike, we went back to Bryson City for an amazing lunch and ice cream dessert (custom blended pumpkin pie!) but we didn't stay too long because we were beat! We headed back to the B&B for a glorious afternoon nap followed by hammock time.

 Around dinner, we got up and went to... this is so embarassing... the KFC buffet. My husband LOVES the KFC buffet and I didn't know they existed outside of his hometown, so we saw the sign and went. It was kind of grungy, and I don't like their chicken, but I did kill the sides. After that, we went to Harrah's to gamble. We were each going to spend $10, but they gave us each $5 to get started. After gambling for 2 hours, Steven had made back his $5 and I had earned back up to $1.50. So we cashed out and left Harrah's feeling really good that we got paid $6.50 for two hours of fun! We went back to the B&B and I enjoyed a glass of wine and he a seasonal beer on our double rocker with a book. It was a fantastic evening!

Gamblin' fool!

Tuesday, we headed out after breakfast. We drove towards the Blue Ridge Parkway, and stopped for a mini hike to Soco Falls. Once we hit the parkway, we stopped at most of the overlooks to see the beautiful scenery. For a month, the prediction was that it would be peak weekend. When we were there, it was very pretty, but peak was obviously the weekend before. There were lots of pretty colors, but also quite a few already bare trees. We drove on the Parkway until we got to Asheville, where we ate lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Fatz, and then headed home. It was an amazing trip with my husband, and I'm so glad I splurged and surprised him! He said I have upped the ante for surprises :). 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wedded Bliss Wednesday: He Answers!

Welcome to another edition of Wedded Bliss Wednesdays! Be sure to go check out the two awesome bloggers who host this link up each week!

This week, the questions were written for the guys to answer. However, I can't resist adding my own commentary which will be in orange. Without further ado, here are my husband's answers:

What was the first thing you noticed about your wife?
We met online, so the first thing I noticed online was that she loved ice cream.  In person, I noticed that she had on a professional outfit.  From this I learned that she had a job, and dressed appropriately for it. 
I'm trying not to take it personally that he noticed I dressed professionally and not my killer good looks (cough).

When you first started dating your wife, what kept you calling/asking her out?
Good personality.  Had a lot of fun talking to her, and she was willing to listen to me ramble on.
LMAO. Was I the first woman who was willing to listen to him ramble!?

What is your wife's best quality?
She is very caring.  My wife cares deeply about everything.  While it can sometimes be a bit much to handle on small details, I love that she takes a stand and is willing to stand for what she believes.
Well said, hubby, well said. 

What is your favorite thing to do with your wife (ahem, keep it clean!)?
 Travel.  I think that traveling brings out the absolute best in the both of us, and we always have a really good time.
Agreed! We make such good travel partners! 

What are you most excited for for the future with your wife?
Having children.  I can tell that she is going to be a great mother, and I am excited to see this come to fruition.
Excuse me while I clean up, since I just melted all over the floor.

How do you make your wife feel loved?
Taking care of things around the house. Her love language is touch, so I ensure that I give her lots of affectionate touches.
I love that he remembers my love language. Although, since a hug can totally change my mood, he probably remembers it out of self preservation :P. 

Me and the hubs at our rehearsal dinner. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

7 Quick Takes- Why I Love This Month

This edition of Quick Takes will be dedicated to my love of this month. I don't just love it because it's October (though October IS in my top three favorite months), but also because it has been and continues to be a wonderful month in general!

--- 1 ---
Let's get the fall related stuff out of the way. I used to not appreciate fall. I was a spring and only spring kind of girl. Well, part of it was that where I used to live, there was hardly any color change, and I was in college, so I only viewed fall as a means to get to painfully colder weather, and an influx in football. Ew. Now that I see beautiful colors in the fall, and I'm not completely surrounded by college football, I can focus on pumpkins and warm drinks and cooler evenings and changing leaves. I've become a very big fan of fall.

--- 2 ---
Steven's birthday is this month. The all you can eat shrimp offer at Red Lobster lines up with his birthday every year, so this is the 7th annual shrimp birthday bonanza (it will be my 3rd). I sort of hate it and sort of love it all at the same time. But since I'm writing about it here, that must mean I love it more than I hate it. I don't do well in large crowds of the male type species, but his best friend who just got married will be bringing his wife (strength in numbers!) AND I just started liking shrimp this year. The last two years, I paid for overpriced chicken. I'm excited and nervous to join the competition this year. Oh, I didn't tell you it's a competition? It's sort of a "beat the group's previous record" versus "beat each other" so that's good. But kind of gross.

--- 3 ---
My group of friends from high school tends to see each other about once a year for special occasions. This year we have two weddings and two baby showers- YAY! This weekend, the last of us is getting married, so Steven and I are headed to my hometown for the wedding. I just love weddings, and I find that I'm much more emotional about them since our own wedding. I guess I sit there thinking about how amazing our day was, and I get so excited for the couple getting to experience that! I'm glad to be able to spend some time with my parents, too. We don't get to go much since Steven tends to work weekends. I just packed The Newlywed Game for Saturday night when my brother and his new wife come over!

--- 4 ---
We have really been learning how to be homeowner's this month. Sometimes, that's a bad thing. But sometimes it makes you feel really good! We looked into and bought the stuff to insulate our hot water heater. It's under the house, which is good if it ever explodes, but bad for losing lots of efficiency when heating water in the winter. So we bought stuff to insulate the hot water line and water heater. It feels good taking care of our home! Steven also edged our driveway so that our grass weeds are no longer growing onto the concrete, and it is a big improvement! AND we painted the porch, which hadn't been painted since the house was built 6 years ago, and wasn't painted well the first time around. It looks SO pretty now and we actually had fun doing it! Next up.... cleaning and staining the deck, and picking out a shed.

The left side of the porch, freshly painted! 

--- 5 ---

We had our six month wedding-iversary and had such a good time celebrating! Steven surprised me by taking me out to Tir Na Nog which is where we held our rehearsal dinner. Their food is SO good and the atmosphere is quite unique. I felt all sentimental celebrating six months in such a meaningful place!

Forcing a picture before dinner. We hardly take pictures together anymore!

--- 6 ---
I've never made a pecan pie but I'm a huuuge lover of it. I decided I wanted to make an extra special dessert for after dinner so I started looking around for ideas. I was trying to be frugal but make something new, so when I happened across shortcut chocolate pecan pie and only needed to buy two ingredients (pecans and chocolate chips) I got really excited. Until I got to the store and saw that the store brand of pecans was almost $7. So I got walnut bits (cheaper than pecan halves by far and a bit cheaper than walnut halves) and hoped for the best. I have to say.... it was DELISH! Pecan pie... I mean, chocolate walnut pie, definitely makes it feel like fall!

So it's not a photogenic pie.

--- 7 ---
You know what tops this month off? Steven always takes the week of his birthday off. Since he works varying hours, I always get excited when we have guaranteed evenings together. Well not only do we have 9 of those in a row coming up (starting tonight), BUT I also took Monday and Tuesday off, so we have 4 entire days of us time coming up! YAY! Have a great weekend! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wedded Bliss Wednesday: In Which I Feel Unqualified

So this week's topic is marriage advice. Hahahaha, you came over to the blog of someone who has been married 6 months. I hope you brought your salt shaker with you! I feel like I should entitle it "relationship advice" since most of my answers probably come from our entire time together (a little under 3 years) and not just 6 months of marriage.

If you could give one piece of advice to any married (or soon-to-be married) couple, what would it be?
I'll write this for the soon-to-be's: Focus on the marriage more than the wedding. Yes, planning a wedding is a blast and will take a lot of time, but that is only one day of your entire married life. If your church doesn't offer any type of prep, or you aren't affiliated with a church, seek an outside resource. We went through our church requirements (which were life changing, by the way) and also got some books on our own to go through. We had some wonderful conversations about topics that probably wouldn't have otherwise come up for a while. We also made so many great memories of going through the books together because we made it fun, rather than a chore. For example, we did some chapters on a long road trip to my sister's wedding, and had a picnic dinner on a blanket in a park, where we went through a book until the sun set.

Us as a "soon to be married couple". We met for breakfast the morning of our wedding! Steven was calm, cool, and collected. I was afraid I might throw up my breakfast.

What is an absolute MUST for any marriage/relationship?
Figure out how you fight, and then work on fighting fair. This is one of those things that we worked on a LOT during our dating/engaged life. We either didn't fight fair, or we were so hurt by the idea of fighting with each other, that arguments would last for so much longer than they needed to. The above pre-marital books actually helped a lot, along with a lot of communication between us. The result has been that we now argue less, and they arguments are so much shorter. There are things that used to cause arguments that now we can have discussions about, instead. That's not to say that we, our communication, or our arguments are perfect; but we are committed to continue working on them so it doesn't become a big ugly spot in our marriage. 

What is the #1 no-no in a marriage?
Secrets. Now, I'm not talking about secrets like "I'm going to surprise her with a romantic dinner". And maybe some of you who have been married a long time feel differently about this; I don't know. But we have decided that what works for us is not having secrets from each other. If we are one flesh, then there should be nothing I can't share with him and he can't share with me. He should be the one person in the world that I can tell anything to, and vice versa. The moment we feel that isn't true, we know we need to address some things within our marriage. I have seen so many instances of spouses hiding things from each other, or intentionally with holding some pretty heavy stuff, and I can't imagine how that feels on their hearts or how it would feel to the other spouse if they found out. That much honesty isn't always easy, and may not come naturally but it's what we expect of one another and is working so far.


What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your marriage?
The biggest lesson I've learned from my marriage so far is that I'm still learning to be a wife and that's ok. And my husband is still learning to be a husband and that's ok. We are still learning to be married. I sort of thought we would just fall into the roles and they would come naturally. Being a spouse is hard work, but it is some of the most fun, rewarding work I've experienced. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Our Honeymoon: Part One

For all of you faithful followers, can you believe that Steven and I have already been married for six months!?!? It seriously has flown by and I'm not sure I like it! I have a feeling I will wake up one day and be 65 with grandkids, not knowing exactly where all those middle years went. I love, love, love settling into married life together, but I do get sad at how fast this first year is going. I already have a crappy memory, and have to look at our wedding photos frequently to remember little details, so the more that time flies by, the more I miss the strong memories of our wedding day. I want to be married for lots of years AND have our wedding be a fresh memory all at the same time. Well as they say, you can't always get what you want. So I'll just keep pouring over our beautiful photos.

Welcome to paradise.

In celebration of our six month wedding anniversary, I thought I would *finally* share our honeymoon! Go grab a snack because this could get pretty long. Keep in mind that I am writing this for myself, so it is very long and very detailed because I want the memories written down before I forget!

I began researching honeymoon locations way earlier than was necessary. I was SO excited thinking about the possibilities. We ended up choosing Curacao (pronounce is like you are healing a pig... cure-a-sow, with emphasis on Cure) after looking around for the most affordable tropical options. Anywhere else was a good $1,000 more. We knew we wanted an all inclusive resort so we didn't have to worry about money for drinks, dinners, snacks, etc. Because come on, we can eat. I didn't want to go to Mexico because I've been (to the non-tropical part) and wanted something else to add to my imaginary list. I looked up a bunch of resorts that were budget busters, and we even toyed with staying stateside. Well, I toyed with it during one of my many money freak outs, but thankfully Steven insisted. Then I happened upon Curacao which I'd never heard of before, and they had a very affordable 3 star resort. Since we've never been to any resort, we figured 3 stars would feel like 5 to us! I did an obsessive amount of researching and we booked it in June when the flight prices were the lowest.

The life.

Before I get into the actual trip, I have to say this. If you can take a honeymoon immediately after your wedding, DO IT. I know lots of people recently who have taken honeymoons later on, but that time together after planning the wedding and celebrating your big day is absolutely priceless. And if you can't leave the country, turn your phone off! One of our favorite things about our tropical getaway was that we were completely cut off from the world that week. We were those doe eyed lovers who didn't have a care in the world, had no clue what was happening back home, and liked it that way. I thank Steven all the time for not letting me cheap out of that honeymoon because we get mushy every time we talk or think about it! Here's another tip... honeymoon registry!!!! Our total honeymoon cost was about $3500, including airfare, 6 days and nights at the resort, all of our food, drinks, snacks and activities there, and anything we spent on the island outside of the resort. We got over half of that cost covered by our honeymoon registry! We also did a traditional registry for people who preferred that, and I think it was the perfect balance.

Awesome chess set at the resort! There is "Jimmy's" behind Steven, where we ate most of our meals.

This is long and I haven't even written about the honeymoon yet! We got in a cab at 4am the day after our wedding. We were so excited that I don't think we cared how early it was! We had that newlywed glow and we were so excited to be off on an adventure together. At the airport, we got through security and had breakfast. Afterward, I saw a sign that said 'family restroom' and got all emotional realizing that Steven and I were officially a family! Do you see the kinds of things my poor husband has to put up with!?

Welcome to Curacao!

This was the first time I saw our names like that. I squeed. Loudly.

His first time out of the country!

We had a layover in Miami where we ate Wendy's for lunch, and then realized it was 9am. Oops! We got into Curacao at about 2pm local time... which I think is the same as our time. It might have been an hour different but we never bothered to check lol! We were on island time! When we got out at the super pretty airport, we got our bags, went through immigration, and then saw a lady holding a Breezes sign (our resort). I would link to it, but apparently Breezes sold it to another resort this summer... I may or may not have gotten emotional upon reading that. Anyway, she whisked us to a desk where we got a folder of information and arm bands to wear all week. Then the original lady took us to a van. We were the only ones in it which was partially exciting since it made us feel special, and partially terrifying since she could be taking us to harvest our organs, for all we knew. Luckily, she took us to the resort. The views along the way were such a mixed bag! There middle class seems more like our lower class, so most of the houses reflected that. They weren't shacks or impoverished at all, just very different from here. It was fascinating! They drive on the right side of the road, but all their signage is different. We tipped the lady who drove us and that was the first and only tip we gave all week. Breezes is a 'super resort' and they don't let you tip anyone. Score!

Fairly typical street.

A fairly typical house and (small) yard.

When we checked in, it was an open air lobby so you could see straight to the water. I was about dying from excitement. Somehow, I never got a picture of that beautiful lobby. They put us in the Plover building on the first floor. While we loved walking out to the beach, we do recommend honeymooners asking for a second floor room lol! We loved the building they put us in because it was close to everything and close enough to hear the night time entertainment, without it being too loud. There are two buildings that are a good walk to everything and one that is known as the 'party building' right at the pools, and then this one which ended up being perfect! Of course I promptly made him go out and explore the resort, and walk on the beach with me!

We have debated moving here many times.

The patio at our room.

This is the outside of our room. See that giant window? Nice for morning views, but not nice for privacy!

View from our room.

We made dinner reservations for that night at their Italian restaurant, Martino's. It was the BEST meal we had that entire week and so good that we changed our last night's reservations so we could go back! It felt surreal sitting on this outdoor patio, dressed up at a fancy restaurant with my brand new husband, hearing the waves crash, and eating a delicious meal that we didn't have to stress about paying for! I was floating on a cloud that entire evening. We got drinks after dinner, which was really fun since neither of us really drink.... we had a great time finding drinks we actually liked that week. We would hear someone mention a drink name and then go up and order it. If we didn't like it, it didn't matter because it was all included! I sipped on a looooot of pina coladas that week!

 On our way to our first dinner of our honeymoon!

I woke up bright and early, so excited for our day on Monday. I laid there for a little bit, trying to let Steven sleep. After I couldn't stand it anymore, I woke Steven up and we went to breakfast. They had TONS of breakfast food at Jimmy's which is where we ate every day for breakfast and where you would go if you didn't have reservations at another place. My favorite part was their delicious cappucinos and island fruit pancakes. They would have a different kind each day like mango, coconut, or papaya pancakes! The first day we had plans to go on a trolley tour we had booked. We had a bit of trouble finding out where the starting point was.

 Because the salt leaks out and ruins the texture and paint, ALL of these buildings (any building you see that is brightly colored... which is tons of them!) have to be repainted every six months and replastered every two years. Can you even imagine!?!?

 He barely tolerates my incessant picture taking.

Floating market where boats dock on their way to Venezuela to sell produce and fish to the locals.

The back of the floating market where all the boats dock.

This is what we thought was our trolley:

This is what turned out to be our trolley:

The tour guide insisted on taking our picture in front of the 'Wedding Cake House'. This house was built by a man for his brand new wife, as a wedding gift. I hope Steven took notes.

Whew, what a relief! We ended up being the only people who booked it, which totally make us feel like royalty! A private tour around Willemstaad! The tour guide was SO fun and friendly, and we had a blast. After the tour was over, we decided to try some local cuisine at The Iguana Cafe which was RIGHT on the water. The view was fantastic! We were brave and tried local food. Steven had a gezond which is a hard boiled egg sandwich (so tame!) and I had a kroket, which is a mix of meat that is lightly fried and put in a hot dog bun. It was kind of weird and I only later learned that it contained ostrich.

 Lunch on the water.... so serene! 

That afternoon we went back to the resort and plopped down in some beach chairs under a grass umbrella. I can't believe how much more fun the beach is when you don't have to lug chairs to and from and put up umbrellas! One of our very favorite things about our afternoon beach hangouts were that we got entire MEALS from the bar, and called it snack. Seriously, it was heaven. We would have lunch, then at 3pm I would get nuggets, fries, and a tropical drink. Steven would get a burger, fries, and tropical drink. We would swim/rest it off and head to dinner at 7. Disgusting and wonderful all at the same time! We had dinner at Jimmy's that night, played some board games in the lobby, and watched the Flamenco dancers with live music. Then we checked out the arcade game hut where we played lots of Pacman and air hockey!

Testing out Blue Curacao! 

Live music and entertainment every night!

Me thinks someone was a bit tired.

Tuesday,  I finally let Steven sleep in a little and I took a book and snack out to a beach chair. In fact, I was reading Style, Sex, and Substance which I know some of you will enjoy! I went and visited the resort parrot who did NOT like me and scared me to death with some really loud squawks. Needless to say I didn't spend any more time with him. I woke Steven up, we had breakfast, and then we got in a little beach time before lunch and heading to the ostrich farm.

Starting the day with a tropical sunrise, M&M's, and a good book!

The taxi we took there was possibly the scariest thing in the world. The farm is sort of in the middle of nowhere, the van that took us appeared to be disintegrating, and marked as a taxi at all, so I had another few thoughts about ways I might be tortured. Of course, we arrived safely. At the farm, they raise the ostrich there mostly for food and are a no waste farm, which made me feel a little less bad for the poor, sweet ostriches. I enjoyed the farm because we got to see actual wildlife. There were huge iguanas and parrots that wander in and aren't 'farm pets'. We went on a tour and were the only English speakers, which was a pretty cool experience to have (being in the minority). The guide would speak German to the crowd and then repeat it in English for us. We saw how they raise ostriches and emu, got to feed an ostrich, and stand on an egg! Did you know that an ostrich egg has less cholesterol than a chicken egg? Our tour guide was VERY interesting and thorough!

 Steven with emu (they raise both emu and ostrich).

 Great hilltop views at the ostrich farm.

 The hubs, semi-patiently waiting on the tour to start.

 We were instructed to approach with our back to the ostrich, as they would peck your face otherwise.... Gulp...

 I bought some gift shop loot, and then we enjoyed a cool "Coke Light" while waiting on the cab.

Sweaty, but oh so happy!

Later that night, we had dinner at the Japanese restaurant. It was very delicious, but not as amazing as the Italian because a) there was no dessert and b) it was group style dining, so we were stuck with a random family instead of sitting at a romantic two seater. We do love some hibachi though, so we still enjoyed ourselves! It was an open air restaurant so you could see the beach and what was going on in the resort. Pretty cool!

The life... 

Stay tuned for an equally long and photo heavy part II :).... Hopefully it won't take me another six months to write and post!