Travel with Children

When we were first married we traveled a lot, going to see my relatives in California or going to see my husband’s relatives in Conneticut and Florida. It was on these flights that we got to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of airline travel you may know them as children. 

Yes, I was one of those judgemental types that would groan every time I saw a mother and child get on the airplane, sending up a quick prayer that they weren’t anywhere near me, vowing in my infinite wisdom to never travel with children and subject others to the screaming that no doubt ensues when taking off and landing not to mention the kicking, poking and peek-a-boo that happens if they are sitting anywhere near you. Locked inside a big metal flying tube with no escape for hours. 

To top it off the mom when she gets to her destination looks like she went through ten rounds in a boxing ring trying to defend her title of champ. You know the look, her hair which was all in place when she boarded now looks like a bird tried to make a nest in it, her makeup has run all down her face as she struggles with her bags and the now sleeping angel that had spent the whole flight fighting to stay awake. After witnessing this on more than one occasion I said to myself I will NEVER travel with my children. I would eat my words…

Once our own little angel was born, we wanted to travel to see grandpa. Our angel was two and a handful, inquisitive about everything. Knowing what I was up against and knowing what I didn’t want to have happen we booked a red eye flight to Florida. I kept the baby up all day, yes it was hard she really wanted her nap and let me know it. She was cranky all day but I won in the end she was up which meant she would sleep n the flight, right? I packed a carry on for her, her favorite blanket, toy, books, crayons. I delayed her feeding until the flight was taking off so that she would swallow and pop her ears naturally. Upon landing I had crackers and juice for her, but she was so tired she slept through it. I however, still got off the plane tired, makeup running, but satisfied that I did all I could so that those around us could be in comfort. All my hard work did not go unnoticed though, the woman who upon seeing us seated in front of her asked to be moved but was informed that it was a full flight and there was nowhere she could move; leaned over to say that I had a very well behaved baby and it was a joy to travel with her on the flight. I smiled and thanked her, yes all my hard work was worth it and I would sleep when we got to grandpas house. 

As the years went by and we continued to travel I was told on numerous occasions how well my girls traveled, but really it was planning. When they got older and they could entertain themselves I packed an entertainment bag for them, they knew to be quiet and respectful because there were other people on the plane. My children are well traveled, we have been to all fifty states, they know how to navigate through the airport and security, how to interact with respect with other people on the plane and what to do if we get separated in the airport. 

Traveling with children, it’s all in the planning.


Split, A Croatian Getaway

I bet not many of you thought about visiting Croatia, however I found it really beautiful! We spent time in Split Croatia, it is right on the water. Geogous blue crystal clear, warm water. Ships and cruise lines pulling in and people of all ages and nationalities disembark flowing onto cobblestoned streets and walkways. I spent one whole day just watching people, eating ice cream and walking through the streets. 

You get the best of all worlds in Split, the architecture reminds me of Rome where people live right on top of some sort of ruin. Pearly white columns adorn the sides of buildings. Dark brick enclosed walkways pour out into open door plazas where people can eat sitting on centuries old steps. 

If in town isn’t your idea of a fun filled afternoon you can hike up the mountainside and get a birdseye view of the city and port of Split.  There are also museums for you to visit. 

While we were in Split we took a boat excursion from the port of Split to Hvar, which is a small island. This port town offers a look at a fortress as well as a small beach. From here you can also take smaller boat trips to nearby islands.  We elected to sit near the beach and eat at a small resturant. From the beach we walked out into the warm Adriatic Sea, I can’t describe how beautiful this area is.

Another day we took a day trip to Bosnia, the guided tour was the best decision we could have made. The driver was able to tell us all about the country side. We stopped off at a few places along the way and were entertained with stories of the area. Our driver organized a tour guide of the city and we learned a lot about what had happened during the war. It was a beautiful day and one that I would love to do again.

If you get a chance, Split Croatia is a fantastic destination. There is something for everyone in your family to do, no matter what their interest is in.

Iceland a Wonderland 

I must confess to all of you a deep dark secret I have. I was scared spitless the first time I traveled to Europe.  I thought that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone and so I loaded a few languages onto my iPad. I just knew we would get lost or get into some kind of trouble and wouldn’t be able to get people to understand us, after all when you are panicked you only think or speak in your native language. I couldn’t have been more wrong, I didn’t have to use my iPad for translation help at all!

I am glad we had chosen Iceland for our first stop. We got off the plane and went to get our rental car, we were met by people who spoke English and were helpful with where we needed to go. We were able to find our way to our flat no problem.The owner of the flat we were staying at was so nice and spoke perfect English. In fact everyone we encountered on the beautiful island of Iceland spoke English.

Reykjavik is the only town of any size on the island and was where we were staying. We were in the center of town and happily wondered around to all of the shops.



The next day we drove out to see some of the sites of the Golden Circle.  We experienced cold temperatures but the views of the Gullfoss falls, which are part of the Golden Circle were worth it.

We also saw geyser that are part of the Golden Circle, wich also include hot springs. There are tours of this area if you have time, or you can do like we did and just wing it while we were there. Strokkur geyser erupts ever 4 to 8 minutes so you don’t have to wait long to see something spectacular.

On our way back to our flat for the night we
passed by steam vents from the volcano.  This is an area close to Hellisheidi power plant.

Our first full day in Iceland was spent exploring the vast countryside, noticing the beautiful surroundings and enjoying each others’ company.  We had tons of fun and enjoyed reading about all the interesting things we saw that day.

If you prefer you can take a minibus tour of the Golden Circle that stops at all the places we did and more. For a reasonable price you get to ride in comfort and have a tour guide tell you about the history and explain about all the geothermal activity on Iceland.

Extreme Iceland Tour

A Slice of Wilderness in the City

So you say to me, “Joy I can’t take time off off to take a family vacation” and I would say to you that there is always time to create memories. You don’t have to take off for days, you can make a good memory with your family in just a few hours. Pretend you are visiting your city for the first time and you will be amazed at what you find. 

 When my kids were young we would take them to the nature park near our home. It was a new park in the middle of the city and afforded us the ability to grow as the park did. I watched as my little girls ran around looking at the different plants and birds that they could see from the paved pathway, to bigger kids that loved the unpaved trails that branched off from those same pathways. It was on these small unpaved trails that their imagination came to life, they could be pirates or treasure hunters combing the forest for clues.

 It was amazing how quiet it was wondering through the property the only clear sounds were those of birds and frogs so you really felt as though you were in the wild.  It wasn’t long before my girls were telling me what insects were around, what poison ivy looked like and what kind of fish if any, were in the pond. Each time we would visit the park we would only spend a few hours but we created a lifetime of memories.

As I watched my children grow I watched the park grow as well, the paved pathways where people with strollers, handicapped persons or the elderly could enjoy the park. The paved path had grown, it is now paved almost all the way around the park. There are bathrooms at the entrance of the park along with a interpretive center where kids can learn about want is in the park what can harm the environment in and around the park.

Recently I tried to think of a place where I could take my elderly father, I wanted to make some good memories with him but he wasn’t able to walk too far and the only places he seemed to want to go were out in nature where he would have difficulty walking; then I remembered the nature park and it’s paved pathways. As we slowly walked along the path we watched as other families passed us with their kids in strollers or on bikes with training wheels. I chuckled as my Dad commented on how fast the kids were moving and we continued our slow shuffling walk down the path toward the bench. As we sat down I couldn’t help but.think of how many great memories were created in this little slice of wilderness in the middle of my city. Today I had come full circle.

Marriott Royal Palms 

Do you have a large family with children of all ages? Do you want to visit Disney World but have a budget you must stick to? If this is you then let Marriott Orlando help with one part of your vacation.

As I have said before when you are traveling with children it is easier to stay at home rentals and condo’s so that you have the room to spread out and a kitchen to cook in so you you can feed those picky eaters. Marriott Royal Palmsin Orlando Florida takes this one step farther, not only do you have a beautiful condo to stay in with plenty of room, but you have a playground for those little kiddos that seem to have unending energy. In addition to the outdoor fun for the little ones there is movie night and other activities for kids that are a little older and need less supervision.

Adults have a play-land of their own. With other Marriott properties close by, you can get that star treatment the Marriott Hotels are known for. Five star restaurants and bars for night life action and for those women out there that need a little pampering there is a wonderful spa that will make you forget not only your troubles but your name too, so use at your own risk.

This place is close to Disney World and other amusement parks so if you need to leave the park in the middle of the day because your little ones need a nap it’s no problem to drive the short distance.

If you have any issues with the condo you just call the front desk and they will send someone to help you out. We had an issue with the dryer in our condo and the maintenance guy was there within five minutes and had it fixed in less than that so we could finish our laundry. He was very personable and said to just call if we had any other problems.

If this sounds good to you just click the link below.

Marriott Royal Palms Villas

Spa at Marriott Orlando World Center

I am so excited for a spa day with my mom; it is always nice to have girl time and what better way to have it then to share a pedicure with someone special.

The Spa is located at another Marriott property close by, Marriott Orlando World Center. To get there just go to the front desk of the Marriott Palms and they will call for a shuttle for you.  The shuttle should drop you off by the spa building.

Walking into the spa building I was assailed with a wonderful scent and then greeted with a smiling receptionist. I had called ahead the day before and made the appointment. I also called today as I knew we were going to be late as I didn’t realize that we would have to take a shuttle to get there.


My Mom, looking forward to pink toenails!!

My mom is handicapped so this is a big treat for her, we walk into the room and were greeted by Marisol and Victoria, both wonderful women and so kind. I apologized again for being late and keeping them waiting. The pedicure itself was very relaxing and the women were very entertaining as we were including them in our conversations.


Laughing and having major fun!

I found out that Marisol has worked at Marriott for six years and so does her husband. Her mother worked there for over twenty years. She had nothing but great things to say about working for this family oriented company and it is evident in the fact that generations of her family have worked there.

This was the most relaxing and enjoyable time that I was able to spend with my mom in a long time. We were able to talk, laugh and walk away with beautiful toes, but most of all we were able to walk away with a fantastic memory!

I had two different experiences at the two different Marriott properties. If you are seeking a quiet relaxing family vacation and condo like living then the Marriott Royal Palms is for you.  The Royal Palms is a Marriott vacation time share property that also has condos for rent. The Royal Palms had beautiful views, a screened in patio that I took advantage of,wp-1482013477482.jpg


a gorgeous apartment with plenty of space for a large family, a large kitchen and washer and dryer. There are two play grounds on the property so it is extra special for those that have small children who need to run loose every now and then. Close to Disney and several other attractions this would be a great way to enjoy a family vacation.


Just a five minute walk down the road from Marriott Royal Palms is the Marriott Orlando World Center. If you are looking for something that has a little more guest oriented service interaction then Marriott Orlando World Center would be the place for you.  I found that everyone from the front desk to the service people walking the hallways were smiling, engaging and really seemed to be enjoying their employment with Marriott.

Happy Vacationing~ Joy

A Cautionary Tale…

What’s a Little Fire?

We have been using the hair dryers that the owners of the apartments have provided. Some places had two but most had just one.  I had brought my own hair dryer to use for just this reason.  My hair dryer was dual voltage so I could use it in Europe with no problem, well except owner/oporator error.

On this my first occasion to use my new dryer we were all getting ready at the same time so my option was to wait thirty minutes for my daughter to finish her hair or to use my own dryer.  I gleefully got my dryer out, plugged it into the converter I had plugged into the wall socket and turned on my dryer. OH NO!!! My dryer took off like a jet engine then smoke began poring from the sides. Yup, it was on fire, the smoke and the smell was over powering as I tried to turn it off, finally I just unplugged it.  I had forgotten to take a coin and turn the little dial on the side to the correct voltage for Europe.

My husband came in from the other room to see what was happening and I just stood there looking at this little thing that had caused so much trouble.  After a couple of days when it had cooled off, I adjusted the dial to the right voltage and plugged it in again, and to my amazement it worked! No smoke and fire this time.

My advise to you is that you put a note on the cord of your hair dryer to change the voltage, that way you won’t be shocked awake by a fire in your hands first thing in the morning.