Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter Baskets and Bunny Hunts

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Maybe because it comes in the spring time when my least favorite season (winter) is ending. The sun is finally peaking out, the trees are budding and flowers blooming. I love the turning in my black and brown clothes for light pinks and blues. But I especially love the personal time of reflection on the gift of the Savior. I love that Easter is more of a personal time of worship. The gift of the atonement and the resurrection are more personal events and it is nice to reflect on them privately. At least that is how easter is for me.

Our easter was great this year! The fact that the weather was nice most of the weekend really added to it. Saturday night our friends the Johnson's came over for an easter basket hunt (bunny hunt.) They put together a really fun basket for us. It had artisan bread and cheese, a sparkling cider, cookie and a pineapple (I like to think it was a play on our favorite show Psych) and a toy.

Cynda and Ben really enjoyed there basket. Ben even took his angry bird to dinner with us that night. It was a lot of fun to watch them go through their basket and laugh at all the little kid things that we put in there. It was like we were all little kids again (especially Ben.)
Sunday morning we went to church before any easter festivities took place at home (ie: easter baskets.) I took this basket full of my awesome easter cookies to church with me for the YW and the girls I visit teach.
When we got home the hunt began. It took Mike quite a while to find his basket in one of the kitchen cabinets.
He loved all of his toys and was anxious to try a few out (like the mini basketball hoop.)
I found mine pretty quick and was thrilled to see my easter treasure!
My favorite was my Tangled DVD and my Pandora charm. Mike did a good job on picking the charm out as well. It is a "cinderella slipper." Mike used a glass slipper to propose to me a little over 3 years ago. I thought it was sweet and had meaning behind it vs just another "cute" charm. He's a sweetie!
After we exchanged baskets we went right to work on preparing for Easter dinner. We had a few close friends come over for an early lunch. It was a delicious meal with great company. This means I hosted Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter this year. I have to admit that I am GREATLY looking forward to spending Thanksgiving and Christmas elsewhere this year.

It was a great day spent with a few great people. I can't imagine a better Easter Sunday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cupcake Wars Remix

This past weekend Cynda and I decided we would make delicious cupcakes for an eater treat. We are both fans of the show Cupcake wars and love to bake. So we picked two very different cupcakes to make. The recipes actually come from the Cupcake War website!

I loved both but this one was my favorite. It was little lighter than the other. It was also 100% vegan (thank you Chloe from C.W.) But you wouldn't have known. The strawberries added to the light feeling of the cupcake as well as added a bit of freshness to it. We used a simple vanilla buttercream (with vegan butter) frosting to act as a binding agent between the strawberries and cake. It was delicious and presented beautifully! I would highly recommend it!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting and a Carmel Drizzle

This was truly a rich and decadent cupcake. It was simply delicious, but not a cupcake you could eat 2 of in one sitting. While making the cake we started to panic a bit. The last step was to add the chopped 4 apples. Before we did that we had all the other ingredients mixed and the consistency was more like a cookie dough than a batter. Obviously I had never baked like this with apples before because as soon as I blended them in the juices of the apples mixed right in and changed the "dough" into a DELICIOUS "batter" (no but really, we were licking every thing to get a good taste of this batter. And don't worry once it had been licked it was put in the dishwasher :) The vanilla bean buttercream was also full of flavor. We couldn't find vanilla paste but used the pure Vanilla instead. I think it turned out just fine. The carmel drizzle was the perfect finishing touch. You felt like you were eating a carmel apple in cake form. YUM!

Cynda and I also enjoyed frosting these cupcakes. We really felt like pros using the frosting bags and using some of the technics we saw on Cupcake Wars!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hard Knock Life

Do you know what? It is HARD, HARD, HARD to be the oldest sibling. I don't know if a lot of people realize how hard it is. Ever since I can remember I have felt like it was my personal responsibility to make sure that A) Everyone is happy and B) Everyone is making the choices that will bring them eternal joy and not temporal happiness. I also feel a great need to have a close meaningful relationships with every member of my family. I want them to feel like they (even my parents) can come to me for advice, to vent or just to talk for no reason. So it is hard on me when I feel like my brothers don't really care much to talk to me or about my opinion.

My brother Bryant just got home from his mission. I wrote him almost every week while he was gone. I cried so many times because I missed him so much and just couldn't wait till he got home. But now that he is home I sort of wish he was still on his mission. Then he would still be writing me and telling me what a great sister I was. But now that he is home and has big life decisions to make I give him my advise and opinions and her says "I can't talk to Kristin she sounds just like mom." Which I would take as a compliment but I know coming from him is more of a put down. He also looks at what Mike and I have (which is not much, but a little more than a RM college student) and says "Doesn't it make you angry that Kristin is doing so well?" Since when has that been a bad thing? I find joy in the success of my siblings/family members and friends. It is just amazing and heartbreaking that the people you love the most can hurt you the deepest.

My brother Andrew is going to graduate from High School in a month. He was not accepted to BYU but was accepted to BYU-I (a school he is less than thrilled about) and Ohio University (a school more known for its partying than academics.) He also has a lot of tough decisions to make. He is trying to figure out if he wants to go on a mission, what school to go to and what he wants to do with his life. I know that is a hard spot to be in. I just wish I could make all the decision for him. Because I have enough real life experience to know what will bring him true happiness and what will be short lived.

But if I did that I would be like Lucifer in a way. Taking away agency and forcing them to do the right thing. And we know that disrupts the plan of Salvation. At any rate these past few months I have been learning a small portion of what it must be like for our Brother Jesus Christ. I love my brothers and sister soo soo much. With every decisions I have made the thoughts "what type of an example am I being to my siblings" crossed my mind. I have done the best that I can to set a good example for them. Although my example is not as spotless and clean as the one of our Savior I feel it is still one to be proud of.

I can understand why our Savior died for us. I would give my life if I knew in turn the lives of my brothers and sisters would be improved. I would do anything to make it so they would never have to endure pain, feel sorrow or walk on the wrong path. Just as our Savior would. BUT I have to let them. I have to do my best to step back and let them use their agency. It is so hard sometimes. Especially when they make the wrong choice (and we all do sometimes.) But I still love them deeply. Even when they hurt my feelings or make fun of me, I still love them. Just as the Savior did the men who crucified him.

I'm not trying to make myself look as holy and perfect as the Savior or compare my mortal love for my family to the eternal love of our But I can finally understand it better than I have even been able to before.

So on this Easter Sunday I think of my Brother Jesus Christ and the sacrifices he has made for me, his little sister Kristin. He loves me so much, even when I forget to read my scriptures one morning or say a prayer before I go to bed. He loved me even though I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. He cheers for me and rejoices in my successes. He cries with me when I start to believe the things Satan is telling me (your not pretty, your fat, you are worthless. you'll never be good enough...) He is the greatest big brother. I love to think of him that way. I love my Savior so much. I am so grateful for Him and his atoning sacrifice, for his glorious resurrection and great love for ALL of us, no matter what. I strive to be more like him. To treat others and see others the way he does.

"He is not here; for he is Risen." He lives that we may live. He loves us infinitely and we shall love others the way he does.

So yes it is hard to be the oldest sibling, but with the example and support of my Older Brother, Jesus Christ, I will continue to do the best I know how and know that I can turn to Christ when I need sisterly advice. :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rainy Saturday Morning

I am writing this morning in an attempt to prolong the official beginning of my day. I have been highly motivated all week and have big plans for today. However, the weather is not being very friendly. Its raining and cold and disgusting outside. Isn't it amazing how the weather truly can effect your mood. I also had a big (and yummy) breakfast this morning. So I'm full, warm and cozy in my PJ's and fuzzy sock (Oh how I love fuzzy socks.) I don't foresee me leaving my spot on the couch for a while. So to make myself feel a little less guilty, I am "journaling."

This week was a good week. I woke up early every day this week to do some type of a work out. It was nice to feel refreshed before work and to have a little extra time with Mike in the morning. At work this week I tried my very best to have saint like patience. I instituted a rewards system in my class that is working, SO FAR. Each time they are quite in the hall, get in line properly and quietly, get a good report from a specials teacher and all behave during circle time, the get a token. Once the get 20 tokens they get a treat. It is working well. They have really been trying and are getting a lot more positive reinforcement. Thats not to say that by the end of the week I was trying a lot harder to have patience than at the beginning.

Funny Story: My pre-k class and the 2 kindergarden classes are located on a different campus then our 1st-5th grade classes. We rent out 5 classrooms inside a Jewish temple. It is interesting but we make it work. Passover began on monday night this past week. So on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we were not able to bring grains or pork into the temple in our lunches (which was very challenging for me, I would eat my triscuts on the playground outside.) We are also not allowed to celebrate easter or anything in the temple. So we read a passover book to the students to help them know why they couldn't have sandwiches for lunch. We gave them matzah and macaroons. Then we decided since most of the kids in our class celebrate easter to read the story of easter (the real one, with Christ and his death and resurrection.) After the story one little boy was very interested in the story about Jesus. He asked me questions like "Why did they kill Him?" and "Who killed Jesus?" So lets think about this. I have a student asking me "who killed Jesus" in a Jewish temple... what do you say? I paused, knowing full well that if anyone else asked this question I would answer simply "the Jews." But I'm in a Jewish temple, I can't say that. Can I? I stood there stumped for a few seconds and he asked again. Finally I told him a man named Pontius Pilate. Haha. It was close enough for the situation I was in. I had to laugh though.

On a different note I feel much more organized in my calling. My close friend Cynda was called as my advisors. We are going to have a lot of fun with these girls. I think it will be fun for the girls to see me with one of my good friends on Wednesday nights. I am one of the stricter leaders, I expect a lot from the girls (where much is given, much is required) so I think it would be easy for them to see me as a more disciplined leader that they can't relate to. But I think they will be surprised to find that... I have a sense of humor, I'm fairly sarcastic and that I love the have fun and laugh. When I think of my youth leaders that I loved it was in the moments that I saw them being themselves and having that I really felt connected to them. So I hope my mia-maids will feel the same way. I can't wait to start having more class activities!

This morning I made crepes for the first time and made a caramelized banana filling for them. Not to shabby. Unfortunately after I had mine I saw how many cal. per serving there were on the bottom of the website recipe (600!) Guess I will have to wait till dinner to eat again.

Yesterday I had some girls over to color easter eggs. I had a blast. It was so fun to spend time with a few friends while doing something fun and crafty. I had one of my new friends from work come and spend time with all my other girlfriends from church. She probably felt like she was part of a "Mormon Invasion." It was a lot of fun. I also made my easter cut-out cookies. I have to decorate them today. I hope I have enough and don't have to make any more!

They are pretty right? My favorite is one that Shelley made. It says "Utah... This is the place." then has an outline of the state of Utah on it. LOVE IT!!

Last night Mike and I went to the temple for ward temple night. It is the first time we have gone as an organized ward thing. That was fun. We left at 5:00 for the 7:15 session worried we would hit traffic on the way into NYC. Traffic was perfect and we were parked and ready to go by 6:15. Since the temple is in the Lincoln Circle area there is a lot to see and look at around it. Our friend Camille came with us and we all found a little pizza place to grab a quick slice and kill some time. It was really great to go to the temple on Good Friday. We hope to make it a tradition.

I have been feeling that winter weight lately and wanting desperately to get ride of it. It is however I little more challenging with the arrival of our girl scout cookie order, easter candy/baking and my new desire to become a master pastry chef. So I went to the gym yesterday to do some interval training. I went on the treadmill and I would run at a comfortable speed for 2 minutes then move it up a speed for a minute then move it up one more for another minute. Then I would walk for 2 min then start again. My dad said that is a good way to burn fat. It was pretty hard since running hasn't been my main form of exercise for a while. I went visiting teaching right after and didn't stretch... MISTAKE. This morning I can barley walk up and down the steps. I feel like I did after I climbed Timp! That is also why I'm struggling this morning.

Cooking Endeavors as of late

After watching a few episodes of cupcake wars I had to try a yummy cupcake. So Mike and I picked our favorite, red velvet. SERIOUSLY, DELICIOUS!
We had the Johnson's over that night and they helped us make a pretty good dent in the number of cupcakes we had...
As you can see by the trash can... we had a few more than we needed (mostly the guys...) Between the 4 of us we polished off 24 mini cupcakes and 7 large ones... I KNOW!! THAT IS TERRIBLE... But you wouldn't have been able to help yourself either... trust me!
This past Sunday I wanted some GOOD mexican. So Cafe Rio it was.
I made the sweet chicken, with cilantro lime rice and creamy cilantro ranch dressing
We even put our shells in the over to melt the cheese like they do at cafe rio.
It was delicious and fairly easy to make, especially they chicken since I just set it in the crock pot (Do you see little Epps sadly watching us eat the delicious food without her? Silly Kitty)
If you want the recipe here it is! I highly recommend it!

Café Rio Salad Café Rio Dressing • 3 fresh tomatillos – remove husks, wash, cut in quarters and put under broiler until soft (about 7 mins) • juice of ½ lime • ½ cup buttermilk • ½ cup mayonnaise • ½ cup sour cream • 1 package of dry Ranch Buttermilk Dressing Mix • 1 cup fresh cilantro (about 1 bunch) • 5 stalks (1/2 bunch) of green onions w/ ends • 2 cloves crushed garlic • ½ to ¾ tsp. salt • ¼ tsp. crushed cayenne pepper Combine well in blender and refrigerate one hour. Café Rio Chicken • 1 small bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing (16 oz) • 1 T chili powder • 1 T cumin • 3 cloves garlic – minced (crushed garlic ok) • 5 lbs chicken breast Cook all together in crockpot for 4 hours, shred meat and cook 1 additional hour. Café Rio Rice • 3 c water • 4 t chicken bouillon • 4 t garlic – minced (crushed garlic ok) • ½ bunch cilantro • 1 can green chilies – or equivalent fresh • ¾ t salt • 1 T butter • ½ onion • 3 c rice Blend cilantro, green chilies and onion together in food processor. Bring water to a boil and then add all ingredients, simmer covered 30 minutes. Café Rio Salad Start with a tortilla, melt cotija cheese on it, then layer on black beans, rice romaine lettuce, chicken, cotija cheese, tortilla chips and cilantro ranch dressing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011



As in my body was hit by a car, not my car was hit by another car. Obviously it was nothing serious as I am sitting at home in my cozy sweats and fuzzy socks no bandages to speak of. However, The right side of my body does hurt a little still.

Heres how it all played out. It was a cold rainy tuesday afternoon in April. I had convinced myself to go to Stop and Shop to get a roast for tomorrow night. While shopping I called my mom and continued on my way. When I got outside it was still drizzling so I was in a hurry to get to my car. I got to the parking lot but it was a little congested and I had to wait (in the rain) before making a break for my car. Finally two cars were stopped and there was about 2 feet between them. I starting walking between them looking both ways to make sure I could cross into the next line of traffic in safety. Thats when it happen! The car on my right side started backing up! WHAT THE HECK! I was right there not to mention there was another car really close and no open parking spots to speak of so who knows what she was doing but she backed up into my elbow and hip. Thankfully the car on my left side started honking so she stopped. I was kind of in shock. Obviously it wasn't a big deal and I was fine but still I was in some pain and all I could think about was being pinned in between two cars! The girl rolled down her window and apologized. I think I was in her blind spot, so I just said "Ok." Usually I say "no problem", or "it's Ok" but it was NOT OK that she hit me. lol. The guy behind me who honked rolled down his window to make sure I was ok. Which I was. I went on my way laughing that "I just got hit by a car." I'm glad it was a minor incident but that is the last time I walk into parking lot of stop and shop if there are cars anywhere near me.

I bet that wouldn't have happened at Fairway... I need to start shopping there. But its so hard when Stop and Shop is 4 blocks away and in the "right" direction of my one way street. Maybe this was a sign. I will try to do my weekend shopping at fairway.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Random Musings for a Monday

I love children's books! I could read them for hours on end. I want a library like the one in Beauty and the Beast but I want 90% of it to be beautiful Children books. My passion for book has only increased since working in my Pre-K class. We read at least 3 books a day between lessons, snack, lunch, dismissal and quite time. We have read some wonderful books. Several have got me choked up. One I have to recommend is "I knew you Could: a book about all of life's stops" I was the one reading and I had to stop and take a breath after each sentence because I was starting to cry it was so inspiring. Books teach all sort of important lessons to young children. They also are visually stimulating and engaging. Today I went to Borders (which is going out of business.) I thought the sales would be better. But it was only 30% off of children's books. So 30% of of $17 is still a little more than I want to pay. At any rate I collected probably 25 books that looked good. I sat on the floor and read them all. I spent at least a good hour on the floor, in heaven. I went to the register with about 15 books and had them ring up 9. It came to $98. I knew that would make Mike a little unhappy. So I took 4 off and it brought it down to $55. I was excited about the books I got. I could use them all in a classroom. Four of them would make good books to read for writing prompts. I also go "Emily's First 100 Days of School." We use that in our school to count down the days to 100.

The more I have thought about it the more I know what I want to do after I have kids. I want to open a preschool in my basement. I'm not sure what certifications I would need to do that but I know I would love it. I could just do 3 days a week in the mornings. It would me enjoyable and not as time consuming or stressful as working in a real school. I would be in control over everything. This year I have been making my own personal files of all the work we do in my class. By the end of the year I hope to have an awesome file for each letter of the alphabet and some of the core sections. Hopefully I will be in the same class next year and can make files of the things I missed before I started working full time.

I picked up another after school babysitting job. I know, kind of silly. But I'm doing it for a good reason. Mike and I are going to FL with my family in June. The plane tickets are bought, the car rented and the room paid for. But after paying for all that stuff, going on the cruise last month plus our trip to Utah in July we needed some extra spending money for FL. So every penny I make goes to doing whatever I want in FL. I work Mon, Wed and Thur. Mon and Thur are 12 hour days. I leave straight from school to go babysit in Darien. Then Wed are even longer because I go to mutual right after. So I am gone for 14 hours on Wed. I sit for twin girls that are almost 4 and a 6&9 year old boy. I am more of a mothers helper. I help with the kids while she runs errands in the afternoon or takes a child to an activity. I really enjoy the family and the children. They are well behaved and I think I am growing on them. I am EXHAUSTED by Friday though. This Friday night I fell asleep at 8:00!!! I plan to babysit through the summer as well. I hope that I can keep up my energy to babysit throughout next school year as well. My dream is to go to Europe next summer for 2 weeks. I would love to pay for the whole trip with just my babysitting money. But I don't know if I will last that long doing both. It is so much work to work full time, babysit 11 hours, do all the grocery shopping, meal planning, laundry, cleaning and errands for Mike and I.

Mike would normally help around the house but right now we are in full blown CFA study mode. I don't mind so much though. I mean I miss having his help around the house but I would rather have him do his best on the test then help me out. He started getting up early this week and going to work early to study then studying after work and all day Saturday. The last few Saturdays have been nice. He has gone in at 9:30 or so in the morning then came home around 7 or 8 at night. That is about 10 + hours studying and we still have a little bit of time together. Only a month and a half till the big day!!

While we were on our cruise our fantastic ward was split. I was seriously depressed and maybe even got a little teary eyed about it. I understand why it was split. If you didn't get there by 8:50 you got a seat in the very back of the gym and you felt like you were at stake conference. I think we had something like 350 active members of our ward. We were lucky to have at least 25 couples around our age or a few years older than we call friends (even if time and space didn't allow for us to hang out with them very often.) Not to mention some really awesome families with older kids. I was also sad because I had just been called as the 2nd counselor in the YW pres 2 months earlier after working as an advisor in the YW for over a year. I knew would be loosing girls that I loved deeply not to mention being released from my calling and not knowing if I would be back in YW again. I'm glad that we were able to be apart of this mega ward while it lasted. I can't even tell you how amazing it is to be in a place where you have no family to speak of, but to look around and see 100's of people you consider family. It has been nice to have a good seat each Sunday. Meet new people since the ward is actually small enough to do that now. I also was called back into YW (YAY) and the 1st counselor, so I work with the Mia-Maids. THEY ROCK! I am soo excited to spend more time with them.

I have been trying to watch the 7th Harry Potter movie for the past few days. Friday I snuggled up and got ready to read it and BAM three scenes later I was asleep. Saturday I was busy all day and just as I was about to turn it on. Mike started watching something else. Sunday I started watching it at 5:00 and by 5:25 I was asleep. I'm watching it now, but I'm feeling very tired already. So we'll see how far we get.

I also can't help but get excited for FL. I am counting down the days (62) till I'll be on vacation in one of my favorite places ever! Not to mention that at that point I will be done with school and have the whole summer off. Man I can't wait for that!

Also I think I want to become a master pastry chef. But more on that later :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 7- At Sea

Our last day of the cruise we were sailing back to San Juan. I actually really liked having our last day be at sea. It gave us one last chance to relax as much as possible. Mike slept in. Since I went to bed before 9pm I was awake and packed by 9am. Once we were up for the day we went to heaven away from heaven, the thermal suite. We spent about 2 hours there. I always end up falling asleep on the beds.
After the spa we made our way to the pool and spent some time there. Mike wore his Ohio State shirt and had about 5 people come talk to him because of it. They either thought he was from Ohio or knew what was going on with March Madness (which he did.) After a while we headed back to our room to settle our Yatzee score. We had been playing through out the cruise and we had both won the same amount of games. We needed a tie breaker (and I won!)
By the time dinner came around none of us really wanted to eat anything else. We felt so gross and full of all the food we had been eating since we set foot on the cruise. They said they loaded us on as passengers but they would have to roll us out like cargo... and that wasn't far from the truth! The servers brought out the Traditional Baked Alaska and I could barely look at it. I do have to say we had a wonderful Server on the cruise. Her name was Zelda and she took great care of us. By the third day she knew to always bring Mikes requested dessert out paired with a vanilla ice cream sundae topped with strawberry, carmel and whip cream (hold the cherry.) He loved her!
That night BYU was playing in the NCAA tournament. We found a smokey sports bar and went to watch the game. During half time we went to see the final nights show. It was the hypnotisit and the other comedian who was like the clone of Brian Reagan. The show was wonderful! Of course the men didn't make it through the whole show before they had to get back to the game. We watched Jimmer make some big plays and destroy the other team they played. It was fun! After the game ended we walked around the ship one more time. Sadly we had to call it an early night since we had to be dressed, packed and down in the lounge ready to go by 6:45am! We were not ready to leave. Lucky for me I was leaving one vacation and starting another. The only thing that kept me going the next day was knowing that in HOURS I would get to see my brother Bryant!!

Day 6- Aruba

"Aruba, Jamaica, owww I wan to take you..."

Seriously I didn't think it would get much better than Bonaire, but then we went to Aruba. HOLY COW. Talk about another beautiful beach. We got of the ship and took a taxi to Palm Beach. Mike and I have been going on cruises because we feel like there isn't any one place we could spend a whole week. Well now we know. I was freaking out about how much I loved this place. The beach was beautiful and there was so much to do. You could go parasailing, wave running, deep sea fishing, tubbing, basically any water sport you want! We couldn't decide what we actually wanted to do.
We laid on the beach debating what to do until it was lunch time. We went to this place called Gilligan's. It was on the beach on the Radisson resort property. The food was great and we got to relax in the shade.
After lunch we walked around on the resort property. I would love to stay there for a week but I think its a little out of our price range for now. The landscaping was beautiful and there were tons of neon blue lizards.
After our little walk we went back to the beach and swam in the ocean for a good hour or so. This is a big deal for me. I never just swim in the ocean. I am terrified of sharks and other animals. But since the water was so clear I could see that there was nothing in the water with me. It was a lot of fun. I don't know if I will ever be able to vacation at Myrtle beach again after going here. It ruined me! We were going to go parasailing but decided we didn't want to leave the beach. As the sun got stronger we headed for over under a cabana. It was really nice to lay in the shade looking out at the ocean with the cool breeze... for about 10 min. Then we were kicked off by hotel workers. Apparently you have to pay. LAME. As it was it was time to head back to the ship. 5 hours never went by faster. I was so sad to leave the beach but am confident I will be back soon.
After getting the last of our souvenirs at the island gift shops we headed back on the ship. We went to the thermal suit for a little while and then it was time to get ready for dinner on our last formal dress night. It was a lovely dinner as every night was but at this point we were a little tired of food, but ate it because it was infront of us.
I wish I could say I did something amazing that night. It has all the promise of fun and excitement.... but I was lame. We were going to watch an early "movie under the stars" but I knew I was going to fall asleep. So I went to bed, at 8:30 on vacation. I felt so lame but HEY I needed my beauty sleep! That night I dreamt I lived on the beach in Aruba!

Day 5- Bonaire

We woke up early (7:30) for our couples massage. We zombie walked in our PJ's up to the spa and they could tell we were still tired. It was pretty amazing though. The room was of course beautiful and the aroma therapy oils put me into a relaxation comma. It was a full body message and it really helped my lower back. I'm not sure how 60 minutes went by so fast. The last thing they messaged was my hand and then apparently they gave it to mike. We didn't even realize we were holding hands until they rang the bell and we snapped out of our comma. It was fantastic!

After the massage we went and grabbed breakfast and ate it on our balcony. Then... we went back to bed. Well Mike did. Charlie St. Cloud was playing and I had wanted to see it so I laid in bed watching it. It was so nice to just lay in bed all morning in my favorite PJ's with nothing to do but wait to pull into a beautiful island.

WOW!! That was my first impression of Bonaire. I had never even heard of it before we booked the cruise so my expectations were pretty low. So when we pulled up and I and saw the color of the water all around me my jaw dropped. I couldn't wait to just jump into it!
For our excursion that day we planned some snorkeling. We rode a pirates ship out to a place called "Kline Bonaire" (Which I knew meant little Bonaire since I speak minimal German.) I really wish I could explain how lovely the water was in person. I was in total aww at this beautiful place. If only all beaches looked like this. We got right in the water (which was again so warm.)

The reef the grows along the beaches of Kline Bonaire is rated in the top 10 of the world and I can see why. It was so beautiful and by far one of my favorite things I have ever done. We sad all kinds of fish in all sorts of beautiful bright colors. I have been snorkeling before but never have I seen anything even close to being this cool. Even the reef was different cools. My favorite fish was the black with neon blue spots or the rainbow colored fish. Mike an I were like little kids pointing to all the cool things we saw so the other wouldn't miss out. At one point I noticed that I was swimming through a school of baby fish. Like 1,000's of them. They were close to the surface of the water and looked like air bubbles. But since I grew up with my dads fish tanks and his fish having baby fish I knew what they looked like and spotted them easily. It was so cool.
The last 10 minutes on the beach Mike stayed in the water snorkeling but I wanted to take in the scenery. I sat in the sand and let the water rush over me and just though of the song "For the Beauty of the Earth." It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been and it took my breath away. I am so glad our Father in Heaven gave us such a beautiful world to live in. I was so sad to get back on the pirate ship to leave. On the way back they gave us Rum punch, minus the rum (Orange and pineapple juice) and fresh fruit. The pineapple they gave us was the best I have ever had and I ate as much as they would let me. It was also pretty cool to be ridding a fun pirate looking ship.

Once we got back to the island Mike and I went to see what the shopping was like. It was getting hot and Mike said he felt like he was getting burned. I told him to put a towel over his shoulder and I would carry his backpack. We walked around town and saw a lot of cool things. We finally decided on some bath salts. We have been really into bath lately so this felt appropriate. I also passed up a necklace I really wish I would have gotten it now :(

When we got back to the ship my arms felt tender. When I looked down I saw my left arm was fried.... minus a strip down the middle of my arm. It was from where I sprayed my sunscreen, apparently I didn't know it needed to be rubbed in. At least I had a good bae tan or that could have ended really bad.

Thursday was also the official start of march madness. So After dinner we went back to the room to watch some of the games. We also went to the country western night. There was one guy that worked on the trip that we called Buddy. We got a good laugh out of him. He was the host of the country western night so we really enjoyed it. I did my best Karaoke version of "Any Man of Mine" by Shania Twain. Not so much... I forgot half of it is spoken and not really words but "uhh yeah." Oh man it went from good, ok, bad, ugly. I think I was seriously scared. We got out of dodge real quick after that. But by then it was 10:30 and I was bread for bed. The sun really takes it out of you :)

Day 4 Grenada

We were only on the island of Grenada from 7-1:30pm so we didn't have a lot of time to explore. We met the Naylor's for Breakfast in the morning then heading For the island. Although we did not awake to the sounds of the steal drum (like in Dominica) the scenery was just as beautiful. We took a water taxi to a beach not to far from the ship. The weather was warm but a little overcast on and off. Which actually was nice to get a little protection from the hot sun. They had chair on the beach but you had to pay the people there to use them. So we sprawled out on the sand.
It was so much fun to have friends there it hang out with. We laughed at the cute naked European baby and the man that serenaded us with his guitar. We took picture for each other and had fun in the warm beautiful water.
After a few hours on the beach it was almost time to go so we took our water taxi back to the dock. As we were already halfway through our trip it was time to get serious about finding a souvenir or two. So we did a little shopping. Grenada is known as the island of spices so they had some great stuff. I was worried about having room to take stuff home in my suitcase so we only got a small bottle of this deliciously pure vanilla. It is wonderful and I will be sad when it is gone. I wish I would have gotten white vanilla and almond extract as well... Next time :)
Since we had to be back on the ship by 1:30 we still had a lot of time before dinner. We had a small lunch then headed right for the thermal spa. Ryan and Brooke happened to be in there so Brooke and I spent an hour in the sauna visiting. I love my husband but it was so nice to have a girl (who I love) to spend time with. After the sauna got to hot I went and laid on the hot stone bed. I ending up falling asleep. Seriously it is so relaxing. Imagine laying on a hot stone bed in a comfy rob, in a dimly lit room as the ship rocks you back and forth.... Heaven right? After I woke up Mike and I went to the pool for a little snack and watched a little of the movie that was playing. The sun was pretty hot and we could feel our sunscreen wearing off so we headed back to the room. Mike took a nap while I got ready for dinner.
Dinner of course was amazing! I had the best pesto linguini. Words can't describe how strongly I feel about that. After we ate way to much for dinner (and dessert) we walked around the ship looking for something to do. For Mike and Ryan it was easy to decide. They went to the tables for 45 min while Brooke and I went to a lounge to visit. After there time was up we went to explore the ship a little more. Mike and Ryan were pretty disappointed when they weren't allowed in the teen center where they had rockband and other fun video games. Brooke and I were in the mood to dance so we found a band that was playing and hit the floor. Mike told me he doesn't like dancing with me because I don't follow the beat (he is right, I've never been good about dancing t the beat of music. lol) But it was fun to laugh at each other and have some fun. Ultimately we wanted "cooler" music so we went to the top deck for the "Deck Party." We pretty much started the dance floor and got things going. But it was hot and sticky on the deck... so we went to Skywalkers the adult night club. There we found... no one and Motown music. Strick 3! None the less we did do a little dancing and took some funny pictures. My favorite is the one of Ryan with his arms folded looking into the distance. CLASSIC. So finally at 11:o0 we decided it wasn't meant to be and called it a night. What a fun day!