Summer Camp Year 2

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This is week 2 of summer camp in year 2.  What does this mean?  Remember my post about my fear of summer camp and the anxiety I passed on to my son last year?  (Read that post here).  Well this is my son’s 2nd year and it’s been great!  Well, almost! He hasn’t cried once and he’s had a good time on the day trips.  But in the first week, he said that a girl told him and his friend about how she was naked in the pool with a boy kissing and how she made him promise her that he would marry her.  My son is 7 so why is a first/second grader talking about this?! So I asked him about this girl, what’s her name, how old is she, who did she kiss, is the boy in your school, was it during a trip, followed by trying to explain this to him.  I asked what he and his friend said, and the response was probably more age appropriate, he said his friend told the young girl that he was going to sabotage their wedding by throwing poop on them! Are you cracking up, oh my jeez, kids!

He claims that this young girl was supposed to be a fifth grader that stayed back to 1st grade, I did not believe him.  This is not funny, how is it even possible, can a kid stay back that long?  I asked him to show me who she was the next day and to my shock, she really did look like a 5th grader that stayed back to the 1st grade because she was HUGGEEE as in older looking, not chubby, and she was sitting at the 1st grade table.  I don’t get it!!!!  As you know parenting doesn’t come with a manual so I wasn’t sure how to address this and I’m sure many of you will disagree with me, but I just told him to avoid any conversations about topics like the one she shared and to always tell me and ask me anything.  No new stories so far, but let’s see how the rest of the week goes.

 

4 Must Haves For Vacation Travel

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These two thirty one bags are easy to pack and carry tons of stuff, must haves for me and our vacation.  I was able to make this small duffle like bag (with no top) flat and packed into the suitcase and could use it to bring our sunblock, towels, extra clothes to the pool, without worrying about carrying a bunch of heavy stuff.  My polka dot bag, just made traveling so simple with the inside and outside compartments.  You can shop these products here.

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My two Thirty One Bags

 

My Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream with SPF 15 was all I needed for cover up.  No heavy foundations in that humidity in Punta Cana or in Florida where I live, just sheer coverage with sun protection.  And Mascara, all I need to brighten up my eyes.  Flamed out and lovely, thank you Cover Girl and P&G.

#PGPruebalo

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Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream #PGPruebalo

 

 

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Cover Girls Flamed Out Mascara #PGPruebalo

Majestic Colonial Punta Cana – a Parents Review

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Majestic Colonial Punta Cana – Abreu and Paez Family Reunion 2014

 

My husband, two kids and myself spent 5 days in beautiful Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  We flew in from Fort Lauderdale on JetBlue on a quick 2 and a half hour plane ride.  With two little inpatient children, the TV per seat on JetBlue is so appreciated.  Just bring your headphones or earpieces and you can be sure they will be quiet in their seats.  The fact that JetBlue allows you to bring one free bag along with the one carry-on is a plus for us as well.  Once we arrived it was time to find a taxi, it was pretty simple since we speak Spanish, but even if you didn’t there were taxis being offered to almost everyone.  $40 dollars from airport to hotel.  When we got to the hotels entrance, it was an open space like many of the hotels on islands and they greeted us with drinks.  Check in was pretty simple, we were taken to our room and it was impressive, Jacuzzi in the middle of the room, towels cutely shaped into swans, flower petals and nice cool AC.  Each room has a deck with two chairs and a Jacuzzi.  The closet space was very spacious, there was a mini fridge with waters and two sodas and two presidente beers, each replaced daily, included with the room.

A few hours after arriving we met up with my dear friend Lucy and her family.  Her husband and two kids and my husband and two kids quickly flocked to one another.  It was awesome to be reunited after 3 years.  We ate at the buffet, and since it was our first meal, we were starving.  The food was good at that moment, the kids ate rice, chicken and fries.  Then it was on to the beach.  A lovely blue wavy ocean with palm trees growing in the sand, tikki umbrellas and lounge chairs everywhere.  We got in the water immediately since it was at a great temperature.  The waves were stronger than what we were used to, as we usually go to Sanibel or Fort Myers beach where the waves are almost non existent off of the Gulf.  We decided to go check out the pool because my kids began feeling itchy, maybe jellyfish, not sure.  The pool was ginormous, as long as the hotel grounds.  There was a swim up bar right in the middle and a giant Jacuzzi open to the pool so it was easy to get in.  The drinks were decent, they were yummy, my favorite was amaretto sour and pina coladas.

 

Entertainment at the hotel was awesome, great music, and karaoke night, in which my daughter sang Wide Awake by Katy Perry in front of over a hundred people.  One night they had a Michael Jackson show and wow, I truly felt like I was at a real concert, dope dancing, amazing choreography and nothing could beat the zombies in the crowd during Thriller.  They have a small casino onsite, we played roulette one evening and had fun, not because we won but because it is such an exciting game.  The slot machines looked a bit corny but if that’s your thing, then rest assured it’s available.  They have a kids pool area called kids splash and offer babysitting for $15 an hour per child.  The two ladies that were there seemed friendly and pleasant and definitely good with kids but we did not use the services.  This pool area was a bit aways from the regular pool but we did spend an hour or so there.  The kids didn’t mind hanging at the big pool at all.

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Kids Pool area and play room, Majestic Colonial

We went on two excursions, snorkeling and ATV Riding.  I think the snorkeling was overpriced at $140 for a family of 4.  It was a 30 minute boat ride to a coral reef area where there were a lot of other boats and many people snorkeling around the same area.  In that sense it felt safe, though you had to be very careful not to cut yourself on the reef in some of the more shallow parts. My friends husbands knee was bleeding after he scraped it swimming by.  My 4 year old did amazingly well, probably the best snorkeler out of all 8 of us.  I was doing more looking around for dangerous fish (aka sharks) rather than admiring the cute tropical fish near us.  Kids enjoyed it and it was an unforgettable experience for them so that’s all that matters.  My son fed the fish bread and the fish swarmed to us giving them an even more up close and personal experience.  Once back on the boat, the driver took us to see a sunken ship, which was not part of the tour, but he was being nice, I could have done without it, because he had to slow down and the smell of the gas and the waves pushing us up and down got me sea sick.  Once back at the hotel it took a few minutes for me to feel better.

 

The first night there we went to eat at the Chinese restaurant and it was thee worst of all the places they had, and so we didn’t eat well that evening.  The next night we had Japanese/Hibachi and this food was good.  It didn’t taste 100% Japanese but it was good nonetheless with much flavor.  The next few days we had buffet from the two different buffet locations they had for breakfast lunch and dinner and it was not so good.  For us adults, we could deal, there was something we could find to satisfy our hunger, but for my picky children, it was basically rice, chicken and fries daily ;(  .  The cereals were not fresh, they seemed very old and not even generic quality.  The French toast was thicker than a tire wheel (ok exaggerating) but still, eggs that were pre cooked looked crazy old, sandwich breads were stale, and so for my kids, it was the same thing every day and that was not cool.  I had bought one pack of ritz crackers and would have brought more but the hubby told me it was dumb to bring food to an all inclusive, I should of followed my mothers instincts.  I also brought two small yogurt hard snacks (luckily) and they were gone by day 2.  I brought two ensures for kids and wish I had bought more.  So if you are travelling with picky eaters, pack a few snacks, don’t go crazy, but bring stuff that will satisfy their cravings when there may not be enough variety.  My kids are used to having milk at night and I asked the bar for milk which they provided but it tasted more like creamer, either way my youngest drank it and didn’t have any stomach issues so that was good.  My kids favorite drink is lemonade but it was mega sugary so I made sure my kiddos drank as much water as possible.

Okay so ATV riding was $55 per person for what was supposed to be 4 hours, but it was 3 hours.  They told us it included water and chips neither of which we received, so that was jacked up.  So it was fun, something cool for kids to experience and here are my thoughts on this excursion:

  • The black seats of the buggy rides were HOT, like burning like a motha flower HOT, and they were wet, so yeah yuck and ouch.
  • They sell bandanas for good reason, you will get mud in your mouth, your eyes, your nostrils, everywhere, come prepared.
  • Wear clothes that you are okay throwing out because it is possible that you will get sooo muddy you can’t even clean it off.
  • The vendors you see on this little tour are expensive as hell!  Dayam, I mean ridiculous, I understand they are trying to survive but uh uh!
  • The beach they take you to, Bavaro, is so amazingly beautiful and breathtaking, I wish they gave us an hour there, which SHOULD have been included since it was supposed to be 4 hours, but we were rushed back to the ATVs after maybe 10/15 minutes. Shame.
  • At the first stop there were children offering us flowers in exchange for a dollar, now this tugged at my heart and I was happy my children got to see this.  One little girl had holes in her shirt so we gave her the extra shirt I brought along for Addison, the look on her face was priceless 🙂
  • If you bring kids, cover them up well, I think this long time in the sun is where my daughter got Sick from too much sun exposure, I wish I had another layer on her, that’s all.
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Bavaro Beach Paradise
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ATV and Buggy Ride

So the trip was overall a success, amazing customer service, great workers and lovely grounds.  My only complaint would be the quality of the food, maybe they need new chefs but other than that, it was fine.  On the very last day I explored over to the hotel next door since they were connected by a walkway which I did not know about and found stores on their side that sold Doritos, candies, and other chips.  I bought my kids a bag of Doritos for 3 dollars and it was not as cheesy, so I think products are just made differently there.  When it was time to get a taxi to the airport, we realized we needed more cash.  We took out 300 Dominican pesos from the ATM which was only about 7 American dollars because we totally miscalculated.  It was 43 per dollar so we needed $1,700 Dominican Pesos to pay the cab.  The ATM wouldn’t let us take out more money because we did not tell our bank we were traveling.  We had to stop at a bank and use my card, but luckily we got the money we needed.  When we got to the Punta Cana airport we were so happy to see Wendys, we rushed to get the kids food, yummyyy lol.  Needless to say, while it was a lovely vacation, we were happy to get back to our home sweet home.  If you have any questions or would like more info, please let me know.

 

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Majestic Colonial Punta Cana
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Fire Juggler at Beach Party
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Little Chapel in Majestic Colonial
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The long pool at Majestic Colonial

 

 

 

 

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me

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Danny and Janeth
My husband and I

 

In one week my blog will turn 1 year old.  I feel like I should have a party.  I decided to do something fun before then and share 10 things you didn’t know about me.

 

  1.  My first name is America, but I’ve grown up going by my middle name Janeth.  In elementary school and high school, kids made fun of me whenever a teacher mentioned my first name.  I would turn beet red and put my head down.  No one taught me the beauty of my name; I just knew I was named after my mother, who is also America.  I didn’t have a story like some teased, about my parents dreaming of coming to America, hence naming me such.  Nope, that wasn’t it people!  All of that changed, after 9/11.  Sadly, it took a horrible event like that attack on our country, to make people feel my name was patriotic, beautiful and unique.  “You should use that name, not Janeth”.  After security laws made names more legal, I was forced to change my name to what my birth certificate said, America.  Prior to that, I was able to use Janeth as I pleased.  While I still tend to go by my middle name, I am always at least A Janeth Paez or AJ in corporate America.

 

  1. I am a Jersey girl through and through.  I descend from a mixed Latina heritage, Peruvian and Guatemalan with big Cuban influences, but my heart started beating in the garden state.

 

  1. When I was 13, I thought I wanted to be a nun.  I lived down the block from St. Mary’s our Catholic church and through the years after my first communion and confirmation, I grew close to the nuns.  After an event in the convent, I was sure I wanted to live there and be one of them.  Obviously that didn’t happen, as I bloomed into a normal teenager a few years later.

 

  1. I have 5 half-sisters and 2 half-brothers.  6 of them through my dad, 1 from my mom.   I didn’t get to meet some of them until after I was 7 and we’ve had some great weekends together.  All of that stopped after a few years, but I still have a lot of love for them.  My sister BG and I grew up in the same house though, so we had years full of sibling rivalry. J

 

  1. I love Halloween like it’s nobody’s business.  One of my old posts talks about why, you can find that here, The Skeletons in my Closet.  When the movie, The Nightmare before Christmas came out in 1993, I was hooked all over again and so my love for Halloween just grows and grows, it never gets old.

 

  1.  I am afraid of flying.  I love to travel but hate going up in the sky.  When my son, who is currently 7 years old, told me he wants to live on another planet when he gets older, I tell him to stop bugging and never leave Earth! He’s so unafraid, it frightens me.  I love him to pieces, my first born, my papi lindo.

 

  1. I really believe my little girl is going to be a superstar.  She is 4 and fabulous.  She loves to sing and dance and can’t get enough of a camera.  You’ve probably seen her in videos I’ve posted of her singing and dancing.  One day she’s going to be a star.  My precious miracle baby, who almost wasn’t.  I wrote a short story about my emotional and difficult pregnancy with her during a writing class but changed our names.  It was actually the very first post on my blog, so what better way to commemorate the one year then by having you read that here, Faith Delivers Hope, a Mother’s Tale.

 

  1. Old School R&B and Jazz makes my heart sing.  My first concert was to see the marvelous Phil Perry and Howard Hewett.  I can listen to Luther Vandross, New Edition, Surface, Babyface, Peabo Bryson, After 7 and Mary J Blige all day, every day!

 

  1. I am a worry wart.  I have gotten lot better but I worry that I’m not good enough, not a good enough mother, not a good enough writer, not worthy.  A constant struggle that many of us go through.  I try to stay conscious about the bad thoughts that cross my mind and battle them with good thoughts to stay positive.  My friends may tell you I am the one to try to make them look at things on the bright side.  Sometimes I need someone to do that for me.

 

10.  This blog has changed my life.  One year ago I was feeling unsatisfied with where I was in life.  I have a goal of writing a book so last year I took a class at a local college for writers.  I didn’t want to lose my momentum after that, so when a friend casually mentioned she was blogging, my eyes opened wide, my ears perked up and I got excited.  In the Motherhood full of Dreams was born and over this one year, I’ve won passes to blogging conferences, learned what twitter parties are, found out about the power of the hash tags, met so many amazing bloggers, made relationships that feel like true friendships and I feel exhilarated when I write.  With the encouragement of my husband, my friends and some family, I jumped in head first.  I’ve recently been able to write for a few other sites and it feels so good!  I am following and enjoying my passion on the side because I work in Corporate America but I am happy.  I feel energized and motivated.  I am so grateful to you that read and comment on my blog.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by and learning a little more about me.  I could have added a ton of other things but this is just the beginning.  Let me know which of my top 10 things you didn’t know about me surprise you the most.

 

A Janeth Paez

Salado Pedros – Cantina at Gulf Coast Town Center

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Salado Pedros Menu

 

My sister in law organizes couples dinners for her neighbors from the lovely gated community of Sandoval in Cape Coral.  While a few of us do not live in the community, they’ve opened up the invite to us.  It’s always a roaring good time.  A few hours away from the kids, an adult play date if you will, is anxiously awaited by all.  Two weekends ago we rolled in deep (20 couples) to Salado Pedros, a Mexican Cantina, at Gulf Coast Town Center in Fort Myers, FL.  The food was good, the waitresses were friendly and the drinks were awesome.  I had the Taco de Carnitas, Ceviche and the Guacamole, all were great.  My husband had the Molcajete surf and turf and loves it.  You are given chips and dip when seated and you can order the guacamole to go with it.

Taco de Carnita Salado Pedros Molcajete Surf and Turf

I’ve read some reviews where people are saying it’s not a true Mexican dining experience.  It’s not a hole in a wall, it’s one of those experience restaurants that entices you with its décor and tequila on taps.  They truly have great drinks, any margarita is good, and you can try hundreds of different Tequila options.   You may not feel like you are having homemade Mexican food, but it is delicious and the atmosphere is great.  Our first experience at Salado Pedro’s was on March 15th, 6 weeks before the group dinner we recently had.  The waitress that evening ignored us, was rude and seemed annoyed whenever we asked her for something.  That will bring a place down fast.  But we spoke to the manager, Ryan, who apologized for this and because of him, we decided to give this place another chance.  Our waitress(es), this time were fantastic, and that will usually break or make the entire dining experience.  The manager, Ryan, took care of our requests, like changing the tv channels and making sure we had enough waiters/waitresses for our group.

We would totally recommend this restaurant and surely you will enjoy your time there. The house tequila, Maestro Doble, is smooth and was a hit with everyone.

Boricua at Salado Pedros    Salado Pedros shots

 

Salado Pedros Cafe  And after  all that smooth tequila, you can get a coffee to help you recover.

 

SaladoPedros is right on the corner across from Dunkins Diamonds on the same street as PF Changs.  Having a group of friends here, is always going to be fun, because you can’t beat a good time, tequila and chips.  If you are looking for a great place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, this is your place.  Just make sure you have a designated driver, they can try the tequila the next time you visit

http://www.saladopedros.com/

 

The Ladys of Sandoval at Salado Pedros

The table at salado pedros

WIN A DAY WITH PITBULL SPONSORED BY VOLI VODKA

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Dis­clo­sure:  I am par­tic­i­pat­ing in this share campaign on behalf of Blog­gin’ Mamas. I will be receiving a bot­tle of Voli Vodka for my participation.

 

 

Pit­bull is offering fans an opportunity to spend a day with him in Miami as part of a social media con­test for Voli Vodka. The con­test kicked off on April 10th and is running for 6 weeks. Fans are able to upload a photo, up until 5/21/14, that shows how they “Light Up The Night” using #Tur­nUpTheVoli. Once pho­tos are tagged #Tur­nUpTheVoli on consumers preferred social media plat­forms they will automatically be entered into the con­test. 10 finalists will be chosen based on vot­ing results and those final­ists will receive a signed Pit­bull collector’s item.  On 5/29/14, a grand prize win­ner will be cho­sen. The grand prize win­ner (and a com­pan­ion) will be flown to Miami (or should we say 305) for a two-night stay and one of the most excit­ing expe­ri­ences they will ever have includ­ing the opportunity to meet Pitbull.

Can’t See Your Closet Floor? Time For Goodwill.

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 This is a PSA on behalf of Bloggin Mamas Collective and the Ad Council. No monetary compensation was given for this post.

 

Spring is a time for all things new.  Who doesn’t love to start fresh, do some deep cleaning and organizing?  Some of us still have past holiday decor laying around, or our closets are exploding with items we can no longer use or need.  Of course our first impulse is to go out shopping, but this year, before we get that new Spring wardrobe, or new holiday decor, let’s do some Spring cleaning and help out our community too!  Goodwill has come up with a fun and insightful little quiz called:

 

What’s Your Clothing Personality??
Goodwill, Donate Stuff. Create Jobs.

Really inspired now?  It’s not hard to declutter when you’re focused and have a plan.  Time to search all your rooms, let your home breathe again.  Make room for new things by donating to Goodwill and simultaneously help people in your community.   Here’s a suggestion on how just 7 days can make that fresh start easier.

#7DaysofSpringCleaning Details:

 

Day 1) Clear your closet clutter

Day 2) Time to tackle the kitchen

Day 3) Spread holiday cheer (holiday decorations, center pieces, Halloween)

Day 4) Downsize your tech toys (used laptops)

Day 5) Clean out your office supplies

Day 6) Provide quality entertainment (unused movies, video games)

Day 7) Downsize your bookshelf

 

It’s helpful to make three piles, trash, donate and maybe.  You don’t have to spend too much time trying to figure out if you should keep it initially.  Declutter and then come back to the maybe box later.  Once you have your donations ready, you can calculate your donation impact. https://donate.goodwill.org/ and feel better about your efforts.You can also go to http://www.goodwill.org/locator/ which shows how your donation helps your community. You’ve done a wonderful job!! Now you can go and get yourself that new outfit or new decor to welcome Spring.

 

 

 

This has been part of the Donate Stuff. Create Jobs. It’s the tagline of Ad Council’s campaign with Goodwill®, which reminds people that their donations support people who are seeking to earn jobs and build careers. To see how the process works, just watch “How We Do It” PSA.