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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

We Have Moved!!!

Dear my fellow bloggers,

It's time for a change at the Q Family. After almost 2 years as a blogger, it's time for me to have our own home with our own domain name. So we are moving to

I will still be talking about our family adventures. Please update your RSS feed, subscription and link. See you at the new home!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Dreaming of: Cruising

There is a saying about cruising that you either hate it or love it. We are on the LOVE IT camp. We have been to 2 cruises so far and both of them on the Carribean.

Our first cruise had set the bar pretty high seeing that we went to Disney Cruise Line. It was everything you expected from Disney and more. The food was amazing and abundant. We loved to order milk and cookie to end our night. The cabin was arranged in a way that you didn't feel cramp even for a family of 4. It was our first cruise so we were pretty green and I didn't do much planning on the excursion. Nonetheless, activities available on the ship were plenty to keep the whole family entertained.
The next cruise was with Carnival Cruise Line. That trip we headed to Jamica, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. The ship might not be as nicely decorated as Disney Cruise but the service was up to par. We had as much fun as our Disney cruise. Surprisingly, Miss J and Mr. Z seemed to feel more comfortable with the kid camp program with Carnival. Maybe because they were older or maybe because it was more intimated. We don't know but we would like to find out by going on a cruise again.

So today I'm dreaming of getting on another ship, being greeted by cold drink and cool breeze, enjoying pool side fun, eating till I can't put any more food, getting to know other destinations even for one day, oh.. so many things to do.

Picking a ship is almost as important as picking a destination. Not all ships go to the same destination so it depends on your preference.

So if I want to pick based on ship, I would love to try Royal Carribean Cruise Line next. I have heard so much great thing about them as one of the best cruise line for family. The Freedom class ships will allow us to try the surf board, the rock climbing and the water slide. What fun would that be!

If I want to pick based on destination, my other dream cruising is Hawaii. I think it will be a good introduction to see all the islands. It doesn't mean that it's the way to do it but I think it's a great start. Then we can use that experience to explore our favorite island.

This post is part of Monday are for Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips. Check out other traveler's dream.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Destin in Winter

Last year we went to Destin during the off season in October. Many people might think we were crazy. But it turned out to be one of the best vacation we have had.

The weather in Destin during October was unpredictable but mostly still warm. We got rained in a couple days but we were saved in the last day with Sunny Florida style day. The water was a bit cold but tolerable. We enjoyed Destin without any crowds. The drive along famouse Route 98 (Emerald Coast Parkway) was a breeze without any traffic. There were no wait in the restaurants.

We took a scenic drive along the coast from Fort Walton Beach up to Seagrove. We made a quick stop near Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club. The sky was clear, the water was blue, the beach was empty as if we owned the whole stretch. The little townsquare lined up with plam trees and candy color building. It was a picture perfect day and we got to witness the beautiful wedding by the beach. Next time, we will have to linger a bit longer and rent a bike to ride around town.

On the last day, we enjoyed beautiful sunset. Not too far off the coast we saw several dolphins swam up to say goodbye to us. What a perfect vacation!! We can't wait to go back.

Check out other travelers' Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Not Your Typical Toy Store

If you have been to Orlando, I'm pretty sure you have been to Downtown Disney. It's one of our favorite spot to go every time we visit the Mouse Town. One of our favorite stores there, is this unique and fun toy store called Once Upon a Toy.

This fun toy store is like a heaven for kids or even adults. When you first walk in, you will see a huge selections of Mr. Potato Heads and family board games. The fun part has just begun. There is a play area that kids can spend hours creating their own version of Mr. or Mrs. Potota Head with various mouse-inspired accessories like Mickey Ears, Mouse hands, or Mouse balloon.

If you can peel them off from Mr. Potato Head table, you will walk into the Boy's Zone. A great selection of all classic action adventure characters like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Pirate of the Carribean are all on display. This was where Mr. Rojo just lost his coolness and became kid once again. The Star War Build Your Own Lightsaber - Choose Your Own Destiny station is a big hit for kids and adults. Well, I must say I see more parents than kids stood there. You can learn how to build your own version of lightsaber with instructions and all the necessary parts. Now, who can say no to that!

Girls don't have to worry.. In the back of the store, awaiting for them is the huge My Little Pony station. Miss J was never a my little pony fan but I know a bunch of friends who are. I'm pretty sure I can hear them scream as if they have found the best treasure box ever. No worried, there is another section for little princess lover to create their own jewelery using different Disney characters.

It might not be as big as FAO in New York City but it's as much fun to check them out and a great stop during a hot Florida day. Best of all, if you can resist the begging, you might come out without spending any money. :)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Dreaming of: Angkor Wat

I have lived in Thailand for over half my life but I haven't visited my neighboring country Cambodia yet. And now I live half way around the world and I'm dreaming of visiting Angkor Wat lately. My brother and my mom were there a couple years ago. They took advantage of the low airfare and went there on a whim. The trip was probably one of many spontaneous my wanderlust brothers have done over the year. The pictures are breathtaking. I can help but envy their experience.

I plan to visit Angkor Wat on our next Thailand trip. I don't know where to start yet but my brother can probably give me a good idea and contact to start. We will probably spend a few days there. Learning the history of this ancient city that has been reclaimed by the nature over hundred of years. Bracing the hot sun of South East Asia summer. Hopefully, it will be tolerable for my kids.

And the food.. Ah.. Food and Asian people goes together like chopsticks. We live to eat. We love to eat and we travel to eat.

Now if anyone has any great accommodation, please feel free to share.

This post is part of Monday are for Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Friends, Family, Food and Floating Tube

Our Summer vacation started pretty early considering we headed down to Orlando the day after the school ended. This year we headed down to Orlando to celebrate Mr. Rojo's Birthday and kick off our Summer vacation with the Mouse.

We stayed at Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club. It was a really nice property with a lot of amenities for the whole family. There are golf course, several pools, mini-golf, bike trail, jogging trail, basket ball court and fitness room. We had a 2 bedrooms / 2 bathroom condo with full kitchen. It was Mr. Rojo's parents timeshare so we didn't have to spend any money on accommodation. Our friends from Florida came to stay with us a couple nights. What a great fun we had!! We ate, we drank, we played game, we chatted and then we drank again..

The next day, we headed out to Disney's Blizzard Beach Water park. We arrived right when the park open at 10 AM. I liked Blizzard Beach from the start just like love at first sight. You know why? No parking fee! Anyone visits Disney World knows that parking fee is not cheap there. When we went to Animal Kingdom it was $12 per car. Ouch!! But no parking fee at the water park.. Score #1.

The park is small enough for us to enjoy all the fun rides in one day without feeling like rushing. But it's big enough to accommodate all the guests that we don't feel overcrowded.

Once we got in, we headed out to get the locker to put our personal belonging there. Then we headed to the Tike's Peak area which is a perfect area for family with small children. We found a few chairs under the hut to make that our home base. We had our cooler with us filled with drinks and snacks. Score #2 for saving on snacks and drinks. The kids loved to play at the shallow pool area and went up and down kid-sized slides. We felt pretty save as there were several lifeguards in the area keeping close eyes on them at the bottom of the slides.

We could probably stay there the whole day but the rafting at Cross Country Creek was begging us to take a leisure ride around the park . It was a nice relaxing way to unwind. There are also life jacket for kiddo if you didn't have one. Miss J loved it so much that she asked to do it again and we did right before we left.

Mr. Z's favorite was the Teamboat Springs - a family rafting ride. To get to the ride we had to ride the chairlift (just like at the ski resort) to the top of the Mount Gushmore.. It was a really cool ride and the raft is big enough to accommodate the whole family.

Another favorite for the Q Family was the Melt-Away bay or what we called the Wave pool. Mr. Z loved to jump on the wave and Miss J loved to ride the wave on the raft.

By 5pm, we were all wiped and it was about time the park is closed. We got in the car and the rain poured down. What a perfect day!

I highly recommended the water park to family with small children over other parks like Animal Kingdom or Epcot. It's cheaper and more fun for little kids. Plus it's more relaxing to the adult as well. The park is not so big so you won't be walking all day.