Sunday, June 9, 2019

Where We Stayed In Oahu + Sup Yoga #Hawaii #Wanderlust

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If you've been following along recently you probably read all about our 9 hour flight to Hawaii and all about our amazing day at Kualoa Ranch. Today I am going to share some more details and some of the fun activities that we did on our Hawaiian Vacation.

We stayed at the http://www.ilikaihotel.com/ in a 1 bedroom oceanview condo. We absolutely loved the Illikai. The condo was perfect for our family of 5. The Illikai Hotel has 1 and 2 bedroom condo's with kitchens. This is perfect for families who want to be able to cook some of their meals to save money.
Here is the outside view of the Illikai

The condo had 2 double beds and a sleeper sofa


This was a wonderful condo within walking distance of the infamous Waikiki Beach, Duke's Lagoon and Ala Moana Center Mall. We will stay here again next time we visit Oahu.

                               Look at the gorgeous sunsets we saw nightly from the balcony
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I miss waking up to this amazing view every morning


The Illikai is located next door to the famous Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Hilton's Duke's Lagoon. My kids really enjoyed playing in the lagoon. There are small fish in the lagoon. The Hilton rents kayaks, stand up paddle boards and pedal boats. They are pretty pricey to rent.

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Here's my little's in front of the Lagoon with gorgeous Diamond Head in the background.

We arrived in Oahu on a Wednesday afternoon and rode a cab to our condo. After checking in we walked to Ala Moana Center which is a gorgeous outdoor mall. It is actually one of the largest outdoor malls in the US. We had dinner at Ala Moana Center then we purchased a few groceries at Foodland Farms. On our 2nd day we enjoyed the beautiful beach and lagoon. We were pretty jet lagged and moving slow.

On our 3rd day my 12 year old daughter and I had reservations for a stand up paddle board yoga class https://www.yogafloats.com/ We had SO much fun and I would highly recommend this! The yoga class is offered every day at Ala Moana Beach which is just a 5 minute walk from the Illikai.




SUP Yoga was so much fun. The cost is $50 per adult and $40 per child for an hour long class. The yoga teacher will actually snap photos while you are doing the yoga and you will be able to download them for free online. I had never done stand up paddleboarding before but it was fairly easy to get the hang of. The class if for those that are beginners and experienced.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

How To Cut The Cable Cord

After years of of having a Verizon cable and Internet package and paying over $150 per month I finally took the steps to cut the cable cord!! I debated about it for months and after doing some research I cut the cable cord! I am going to share with ya'll how to do this and how you can still watch your favorite shows.

Image result for cutting cable cord

Call your cable provider and find out if you are in any type of a contract. In my case I was month to month meaning I was able to walk away at any time. I did keep Verizon Internet. I called Verizon and let them know I would be discontinuing my package and that I would just be needing Internet. They locked me in for a 2 year contract for Internet for just $44/month. This is such a good rate!!

Step 1: Call your provider and cut the cable! Keep Internet because you will need this to stream tv

Step 2: Purchase a https://www.roku.com/ This is what you will need to stream TV. You can order a Roku for each TV in your home or you can move it around. Ex. We keep our Roku on our family room TV but occasionally if the kids are having a sleepover we will move it upstairs to their TV in the playroom. A Roku is available for purchase at Target & Walmart for $25.

Save $5 on the Roku Express
                                                            I have this Roku device

Step 3: Purchase a package from https://www.sling.com/ I chose the BLUE package which cost $25/month *Currently as of today June 6 Sling is running a great promo if you sign up for Sling and pay for 2 months service you will receive a free Roku!

Step 4: Hook up your Roku to your TV of choice and start streaming TV. It is SO easy!

Why I chose Sling TV

I chose Sling TV because there are no contracts, you can quit at any time. You pay only $25 per month for the package and it includes all of my favorite TV networks. I selected the BLUE package because it includes Bravo TV (gotta have my Housewives!!), TLC, E and HGTV to name a few. You can even download the Sling app and watch on your computer, cell phone or tablet. Sadly the BLUE package does not include my kids favorite, Disney Channel. But to solve the problem I simply added the Disney Now app to the Roku and we are able to watch Disney shows, movies, etc for FREE! I also downloaded the Nick JR app and the PBS Kids app, all of which are FREE! 

I do need to add that I am a fan of MTV's The Challenge and unfortunately Sling does not include MTV. However, during the 3 months of the year that the show is airing I do subscribe to https://try.philo.com/ which cost just $20 per month. Philo will allow you to try it out for a free 7 day trial so I recommend doing this. The Philo package includes over 58 channels including MTV, Hallmark Channel (perfect for the Hallmark Holiday movies!), OWN, UpTV, DIY, A&E, HGTV, TLC, etc. to name a few.

There are many other ways to stream TV and if you want LIVE TV you can also subscribe to LIVE TV with Hulu, however it is going to cost more.  https://www.hulu.com

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

All About Our Vacation In #Hawaii: Our Jungle Jeep Tour At @KualoahHi

A few weeks ago I shared with everyone the details of our 9 hour flight to Hawaii. Today I am going to share with ya'll one of the fun activities that we did in Oahu. The most fun and adventurous tour we did in Oahu was visiting Kualoa Ranch! I highly recommend if you are on Oahu that you make time to visit. They offer a variety of tours including a 2 hour kayak tour around Chinaman's hat, 1 and 2 hour horseback tours, ATV tours, Farm to Table Tour, etc. We hope to visit again when we return to Hawaii. I'd love to try the ATV tour next time.



We are big fans of Jurassic Park and my kids were super excited to learn that it was filmed in Oahu. We booked the Jungle Jeep Tour at Kualoa Ranch which is where many movies and tv shows have been filmed. We enjoyed the Jungle Jeep Tour, it was probably one of the highlights of the kids vacation.



All About The Tour:
90 minutes Rainforest Tour
Tour movie sites including Jumanji and Kong Skull Island, Jurassic Valley 
Beautiful scenic views 
$47.95/adult $36.95/child

Look at the incredible view from the jeep of the famous Chinaman's Hat




Check out those dinosaur claw marks!!


My kids absolutely loved seeing the many movie sets, especially Jurassic World! Be sure to save time to check out the huge gift shop. My son purchased a Jurassic World tee shirt and my daughter purchased a beautiful hand carved stone turtle. 

Kuaoloa Ranch has an on site restaurant called Aunty Pat's Cafe serving breakfast, lunch and snacks until 6 pm. The buffet looked good and it is open daily from 10 am until 2 pm. 


I highly recommend a visit to Kualoa Ranch if you are visiting Oahu. Plan to spend at least 45 minutes in the gift shop :) It is great!




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Thursday, May 9, 2019

All About Our 9 Hour Flight To Hawaii on #UnitedAirlines


We recently traveled to Oahu Hawaii for spring break. We flew United Airlines out of Raleigh, NC and we had an hour layover in Houston, Texas. I had just enough time in the Houston airport to grab a Starbucks and a fruit cup before it was time to board the flight.  From Houston, Texas the flight to Oahu Hawaii was 9 hours!! The time also changed and we lost 6 hours since we were coming from the East Coast. I chose United Airlines because they were the best priced flights I could find. We really enjoyed flying United. We were able to each bring a carry on size bag on the flight plus a 'personal item' which was the kids backpacks. Overall the flight went fairly smooth. They no longer offer complimentary meals on flights to Hawaii, however they had meals available for purchase including snacks. They did give out complimentary pretzels and drinks.  To view the menu's for United Airlines visit the United Airlines website. They also gave out complimentary ear buds and a (new) soft blanket. 

It was so nice having our own tv screens! We were able to watch lots of movies and tv shows.


I ended up purchasing my kids their own "Classic Snack Box" which cost $10 and included:
Cheese spread
Crackers
Oreos (2)
Pretzel Crisp bag
Root Beer Float marshmallow (this was delicious!)
Salami
Twizzlers


They also sell a "Kids Snack Box" which costs $6 and includes: applesauce, beef stick, cheddar crackers, fruit snacks and graham snacks.

My kids watched two movies on the flight. I had packed them a lot of fun things to do in their backpacks to keep them busy. Check out my detailed packing list here. In addition to watching movies my kids also did some sticker activity books, played with Lego's, did some drawing, played on their Nintendo DS's and they never napped! UGH! The 9 hour flight went by somewhat fast up until the last hour. My kids started to get antsy so I took them to walk around the plane, we asked the flight attendants for an extra sprite and we walked the aisles for about ten minutes.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

All About Our Visit To Sea Life Park #Hawaii

We visited Sea Life Park in Oahu, Hawaii. The park is located about 30 minutes outside of Waikiki. We had a rental car so we drove but if you do not have a car you can ride the bus. Parking cost $5. They have lockers available to rent. 

The kids had SO much fun seeing the beautiful turtles, dolphins, penguins, bird aviary, fish, sharks and the adorable sea lions

Honu means sea turtle in Hawaii



My kids loved the touch pool

Exploring underwater

Sea Life park offers many wonderful animal experiences that are available for an additional cost. Guests can swim with the dolphins, encounter a sea lion, feed a dolphin, etc.

Be sure to check out the Kolohe Kai Sea Lion show!

The bird aviary was so fun! The sticks are complimentary and allow guests to feed the birds up close


There are 2 fun playgrounds available for little one's

Be sure to save room for lunch! They have several great food options at Sea Life Park. Check out the various dining options here We had delicious hot dogs from Pinks Hollywood Hot Dogs. The pineapple hot dog was amazing! 

Ticket prices:
General Admission: $39.99 (13 and older) 
Junior Admission: $24.99 (3-12 years) 
Infants: Free (1 year to 2 years ) 






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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Top 10 Tips For Your Hawaii Vacation


We had the best vacation in Oahu, Hawaii this past April. The kids loved Oahu and all of the beautiful beaches. I'm going to share with you my top 10 tips for planning your own Hawaiian Vacation.

  1. Plan, plan plan! Save websites to your "favorites" tab on your computer. Start researching using www.TripAdvisor.com and www.gohawaii.com 
  2. Make a list of all of the activities and attractions you would like to do. 
  3. Create a daily plans document for each day of your vacation. We had 10 days on Oahu so I had a detailed plan for each of those 10 days. The travel days simply included things like get a cab, get groceries, go to dinner, etc. Take the list of things you would like to do and add it into your daily plans. 
  4. Don't try to do to much each day. Be sure to allow time each day to relax, enjoy the pool, beach, etc.
  5. Before you book your flights shop around! Compare prices. We booked our flights directly by calling United Airlines. I wanted to be 100% sure that my 3 kids would be seated beside myself and my husband. 
  6. Book your hotel or condo before you book your flight. This is the most important aspect of your vacation. 
  7. Book dinner reservations online ahead of time
  8. If this will be your kids first time to fly show them a YouTube video of the inside of an airplane to prepare them for what it will be like. 

  9. Check websites like www.groupon.com for deals on attractions
  10. Remember to have fun and be flexible! Don't worry if something on your list doesn't happen on the exact day you had planned. One of the days we were in Oahu it rained and we switched our plans. We also had made a 'backup plan' for rainy days. Our rainy day plans included going to an aquarium or seeing a movie. 
Coming up next on the blog, my kids favorite attractions in Oahu!




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Monday, April 15, 2019

All About Our Hawaii Vacation Part 1: The Planning

We had been planning on taking our children to Oahu in the summer of 2019. I started pricing out airline tickets in February 2019. I quickly realized that July and August cost a lot more for plane tickets than March and April. So I changed our plans a little bit and booked our flights for March 2019. That gave me less than two full months to plan our vacation!! When you are booking 5 plane tickets every little bit of savings can add up. I compared airport pricing and searched all airports within 2 hours of our house. I am lucky because I live just less than 2 hours from Dulles airport and exactly 2 hours from Raleigh, NC airport. Both of which have excellent airfare rates to Honolulu. We decided to book with United Airlines out of Raleigh. Our airfare was around $900 per person and this was for economy. We were able to bring one personal item (bookbag for each of us) and one carry on luggage. We ended up checking 2 pieces of luggage for $30/bag. We had a total of 7 bags + a bookbag for each person.



More on the flight experience later. After booking the airline tickets I booked our hotel for the night before our early 6:30 am flight. We absolutely loved the Holiday Inn Express in Raleigh, NC. They provide a park n ride option where you can leave your vehicle for up to two weeks at the hotel to avoid paying for parking at the airport. They will take you and pick you up at the airport with their shuttle. It was SO convenient. We loved the hotel and the breakfast was delicious. Due to our early morning flight we did not have much time to enjoy the breakfast, but we did grab coffee to go and nice to go bags. The to go bags were filled with: banana, granola bar, cereal bar and a delicious fresh baked muffin. I can't say enough great things about this hotel! We will definitely return.

Luckily I had been pre-planning and doing research on must see attractions in Oahu for many months! I had saved many websites to a folder on my "Favorites" lists on my computer. I've always wanted to take the kids to Hawaii but I wanted to wait until my youngest was at least 7+ or older to fly. It is a long flight and I knew it was going to be too stressful to fly with 3 kids when they were really young.

I knew that we would have only 10 days to see many many places, beaches, attractions, restaurants, etc. So I had to make the most of our time and our days. I used my favorite Lilly Pulitzer notebook to make our itinerary. I booked dinner reservations at the following restaurants:

https://www.tanakaoftokyo.com/
https://www.dukeswaikiki.com/
https://www.haleiwabeachhouse.com/

After booking dinner reservations I started booking reservations for attractions. I booked our rental vehicle. This is another topic that I debated on. Should we have a rental car for the whole 10 days or just part of the vacation? Parking in Waikiki is very expensive so that was another added factor. In the end I decided to book the rental car for 4 days. We were able to ride http://thebus.org/ to most of our destinations, such as Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Ala Moana Center (mall), Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu Zoo, etc.

Up next, part 2 Packing & The 9 Hour Flight Experience



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