Sand and Sun in the Caribbean

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sand and sun

 

Sometimes sand and sun is all I need to rejuvenate me…what about you?

For the past few days, I have been relaxing and taking in the beautiful hospitality of Grand Cayman.

It is a wonderful island …the beaches are pristine and the water is welcoming, especially after leaving sub-freezing temperatures in Chicago.

Tomorrow reality will return as we travel back to the cold…but in the meantime even though it is cloudy today, there is still a little sun and sand alongside the beautiful Caribbean.

See you all stateside…Happy Thursday!

What Do Your Kids Do During Summer Vacation?

ice cream cone

 

Instead, I’m choosing to teach them that breaks are a good thing. That they don’t need to wring their brain cells dry to be good students. That their hard work during the academic year deserves the reward of relaxation.

 

I’m teaching them that right now, they should experience fun and freedom and mischief and food and yes, a goodly amount of TV and video games. I’m teaching them that they are good enough, and I don’t expect perfection.

 

I’m teaching them that they’re still kids. And that’s really all they need to learn right now.

via I’m Not Teaching My Kids Anything This Summer | Summer Learning.

 

Truly…I could not say this better myself…as I stare out the windows at the water which beckons me to just go with the flow on any given day!

Summer vacation has always been a time that I valued with my kids and now I continue to value it with my grandchild.

My own Nana, God bless her, taught me that summer was for…

Days full of unscheduled activities as much as possible…

Summer was for days…

Full of ice cream cones, sandcastles, swimming and beaches along with…

Rainy days full of  painting, make-believe and cookie baking.

What better excuse to be a kid myself…

Celebrate…Four Seasons Chicago Staycation!

Happy Anniversary Champagne Toast – Four Seasons Chicago!

My husband and I have been married for 35 years.

Over those years, we have celebrated many memorable occasions together with our family at The Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago.

Birthdays, Mother’s Days, Christmas and even St.Patrick’s Day are some of many family holidays and events made more memorable by the wonderful staff at the The Four Seasons.

For our anniversary we agreed, it had to be something special and our 4 year old granddaughter needed to be with us. We also wanted a “stay-cation” in Chicago because we love to spend time enjoying the City that is so near and dear to us.

So it was natural for us to choose to stay at The Four Seasons …something for us and something for our granddaughter.

Jeff, “Welcome Home” Four Seasons Chicago

“Welcome home!”, Jeff said as he greeted us on our arrival.

It was so perfect that Jeff would meet us at the door. We have been met by him many times over the years. Even when we come to Chicago for the day, we stop to say hi to Jeff and ask about his family.

At check-in, we were greeted warmly and our granddaughter was treated to a small gift from the “toy chest” conveniently located at the front desk.

She was ecstatic!

We then made our way to our room in the sky…with a beautiful view of Oak Street Beach and Lake Michigan. Truly, one of my favorite corners of the city.

It is this view that is so spectacular when it is lit up at night and even more beautiful at sunrise!

 

“Room with a View”

After relaxing and enjoying lunch in our room…we were ready for “pizza making” with our granddaughter…so off we went to the Four Seasons kitchen…

Pizza Making with Chef Matt”

Thrilled is the word to describe our granddaughter when she met Chef Matt and the staff of the Four Seasons kitchen… donning apron and hat she went to work creating gourmet pizzas which were to be our appetizers at dinner later in the day.

“Afternoon Milk and Cookies”

After the “hard” work of pizza making she was treated to a delightfully refreshing chocolate milk shake which she made with the help of her “Papa” and fresh cookies which were waiting for her in our room…

“Happy Anniversary Grandma and Papa” from Four Seasons Chicago

My husband and I were greeted with chocolate covered strawberries and champagne from the Hotel staff along with some beautiful flowers from friends!

After our snacks, we headed out to the 900 Shops on Michigan Avenue.

Conveniently, the hotel directly accesses one of the premier shopping areas in the country. Our first stop was Galt Toys…a favorite for unique children’s items…a definite “don’t miss” on my trips to Chicago.

Then it was time for an early dinner at Allium. This was our first time dining there. For appetizers we enjoyed our granddaughter’s pizza….they were delicious as was the rest of our dinner.

The “Pappardelle & Chicken Thighs” was my entree choice, my husband feasted on the “Wisconsin Walleye”…just superb!

Pizza Appetizer compliments of our Granddaughter

A surprise Anniversary dessert arrived to  complete our delicious dining experience!

A beautiful Anniversary dessert!

Hello …Ice Cream Man!

Then it was time to retire to our room ….where our granddaughter was surprised by a visit from the Ice Cream Man.

After a bedtime sundae…it was good night to all of us!

 

Early morning quiet time on the window seat!

Sunday sunrise did not disappoint!

Our little one was enjoying a relaxing moment on the window seat while we enjoyed an early breakfast in our room.

At quick trip to LEGO Water Tower Chicago!

These days a trip to Chicago is never complete without a visit to LEGO in Water Tower Place!

A quiet lunch before heading home!

After Water Tower Place we sat down for a quiet lunch at Allium before leaving to return home.

Since we were also running a little late…our server, noticing we were concerned, arranged for us to have a later check-out so we could relax a little bit longer and enjoy our meal.

After lunch it was time to leave…

Good bye and Thank you…Four Seasons Chicago!

Our weekend was wonderful…The Four Seasons made our stay so memorable. We left with smiles and stories to tell … this being one of them!

Disclosure:

I was not compensated for this review. We were given a special rate on our accommodations. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Beach Party…

Fuller Beach, Edgartown, MA

A day at the beach with kids sounds like fun and it can be with a great deal of effort usually on the part of the adults, usually the moms.

For many years we vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard, where we were a short walk away from the beach in Edgartown and a beautiful short ferry ride from the beaches on Chappaquidick.  It was idyllic in many ways and I have so many fond memories from those vacations with my daughter, her friends and various family members who joined us for all or part of our vacation time.

Martha’s Vineyard and MOM

Our house was small but could sleep 7-8 people in a pinch or 6 very comfortably. It was not air-conditioned which proved to be somewhat hellish at times when the temperatures soared to the 90′s. We did have boxed fans which kept humming through those sultry days and nights. Some times it was even to hot to pack up and make the “trip” to the beach…those were the days spent on the sofa in front of the fan reading.

Martha’s Vineyard…

You probably are wondering what prompted this post…well I happened across two blogs today that discussed what it takes to create a fun day at the beach.

My answer… MOM and lots of planning…food, toys, umbrellas, towels, coolers, chairs, sunscreen…drinks and plenty of sweat and patience. If you have really little ones then of course you need extra bathing suits and swim diapers.

I would begin packing in early June for our July trip to the Vineyard…why?

Because summer rentals on the Vineyard usually do not come with linens. So I would send stuff ahead to the Mailroom in Edgartown where it would be waiting for me. We would take a very early Ferry on Saturday and hustle off to pick up our cartons filled with the sundries necessary for a comfortable couple of weeks at the beach.

I would be remiss if I did not include here the fact that we had to fly from Chicago on Friday night and drive to Woods Hole where we would all pile in to the Nautilus Motor Inn for the night…in later years we stayed with a college friend in Falmouth for the night.

Woods Hole, MA

From the Nautilus you could hear the comfort of the Ferry horn and quickly walk to the dock. We had to purchase our Ferry tickets in February in order to take a car on board…all of this was done by MOM. Even the Nautilus had to be booked well in advance…as it was a very popular place come summetime.

All the preparation was worth the lazy days spent on the Vineyard which still remains one of my favorite places and memories.

Finally on move in day ..there was the obligatory trip  to Stop and Shop and Cronigs to buy staples like chips and dip and drinks. We would shop each daily for the catch of the day and head “Up Island” to the Farmers Market for our favorite pies and jams and containers of Pam’s Pesto.

Each morning MOM (me) would assemble all the “stuff” for the beach. Now mind you we stayed there most of the day…so snacks and lunch were necessities. The beaches that we liked had no concessions so you were at your own mercy when it came to food and drink.

There were always many hands to get us to the beach and back…but those hands disappeared fast when it came to washing and drying the towels and  cleaning the cooler making ready for the next day.

Then there was dinner for the hungry souls that had spent the entire day reading, roasting, rollicking and eating in the sun or under one of the umbrellas that we had lugged along with us.

Finally after a relaxing dinner…day was done after a short walk to SCOOPS in Edgartown for the obligatory ice cream.

Vineyard Scoops

Yes, MOM made it happen…but this MOM really enjoyed those days and sultry nights at the beach.

Martha’s Vineyard just makes me feel nostalgic about times gone by…but now it’s on to this MOM and trips to the beach (no longer Martha’s Vineyard)…SIGH… with grandchildren, where I am still the organizer with help from PAPA.

It is hard to know who enjoys the beach more us or our grandchild.

Who plans fun with the kids or grandkids in your family?

 

 

 

 

Lifes Not A Beach With Kids | Kid Scoop.

Beach Break….

For me, there is nothing that can quite beat a relaxing day at the beach… gentle breezes,  the voices of children at the shoreline, and the sounds of seagulls over head.

 

….and toys abandoned for a quick snack

 

…and “love letters in the sand”

 

…and carefully created sand formations…

 

and views of beautiful spinnakers…beckoning me to come aboard and sail…off into my imagination…

Where do you find renewal?

Where does your imagination take you when you are relaxing and daydreaming?

As a mom and now a grandmother who writes, I find these moments of renewal so important to maintain balance.

So this week, my blog will take a short break from its regular scheduled program

while “grandma” unwinds.

 

 

jekyll and hyde days

Last week I was on a “break” in Rhode Island…where I go from time to time to relax and stir up some creative thoughts.

Spring has come along the Rhode Island coast line… it is beautiful to experience the chirping birds, the cry of the sea gulls and the off shore breezes. Sunrises never cease to be a grateful view.

The ever-changing water currents and winds bring daily weather changes, sometimes ones that are very slight and hardly noticeable and others, dreary and full of drama.

We had one such dreary and dramatic day…a Nor’easter which hit us early one morning with pounding rain and whistling wind. The waves were tumultuous and white caps made for ominous boating conditions. It was a day for soup, sandwiches and a good book…as well as make-believe play and a trip to the Children’s Library in between wind gusts.

The next morning…it was like the day before had been a dream. The sky lit up at around   5 a.m. and the sun shone brightly another hour later. The Wind had subsided.The birds were back and the water sparkled with its calmness. Boats were cruising again.

It was a Jekyl and Hyde couple of days…on the coast of Rhode Island!

I’m glad to be back…

Last week, I attended the MOM 2.0 Summit. It was mostly bloggers but there were some entrepreneurs mixed in with sponsors and probably many others whom I did not have a chance to personally meet.

The venue for the conference was the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne, FL….it was a magnificent backdrop for a very well organized, business mixed with fun event.

I just returned to Chicago late this afternoon and really cannot wait to sit down and write, but traveling really does take its toll on me.

So for now here is my comment on the MOM 2.0 Summit, Facebook page…more to come.

 

My first MOM 2.0…loved it. The sponsors were wonderful…if I missed visiting any of them I am sorry…I know they made the event happen. I enjoyed the wonderful women who shared so much both the attendees and speakers. Those who were not welcoming at your lunch table at the Aldi lunch…thank God you were in the minority…get over yourselves! All the rest…xoxo

MOM 2.0 Summit

Parenting in the Loop is at MOM 2.0 Summit

Moon over MOM 2.0 Summit

Sorry, I have not posted in a couple of days but I am at a meeting of bloggers at the MOM 2.0 Summit in Key Biscayne, Florida.

I will be posting about this wonderful experience and catch-up with my posts and you hopefully over the weekend.

MOM 2.0 has connected me to some great blogs that I am looking forward to introducing you to in the next few weeks.

Have a great weekend! Thanks for reading!

Lorette :)

Traveling….Mom 2.0 Summit…

Mom 2.0 Summit

I am going to the MOM 2.0 Summit this coming weekend and yesterday I went shopping  to get my fashions ready for Miami.

Now as you know, if you read my blog…I am a grandmother so finding fashions that do not look like me trying to be my daughters’ wannabe but still trying to be comfortable for my age and somewhat in fashion is not easy these days.

Yesterday, I went to Chicago for a meeting which unfortunately fortunately was cancelled…turns out it was the perfect day to shop. All the spring and summer fashions were tempting me and my upcoming trip to Miami was all the excuse I needed to get out my charge card and begin my own seasonal make-over.

I find that Eileen Fisher really speaks to my style…it does not speak to my daughters but so be it. I have learned to deal with their criticism and my own comfort.

Shopping

 

Eileen Fisher’s window displays beckoned me into their Water Tower Store.

I was greeted and helped by Kris…she put together the perfect travel wear for Miami…comfortable…mix and match…fun casual pieces for daytime meetings with of course a little glitz for the evening at the Versace Mansion.

Eileen Fisher has managed to make clothes that are comfortable, stylish and made of natural fabrics. She has the perfect shoes and accessories to give any outfit that extra pizzazz.

Her stores have great dressing areas with plenty of room to indulge in trying on everything that appeals to you. The staff lets you have enough privacy to make selections on your own without any pressure, just gentle guidance if you request it…I love their attention… yet they do not overwhelm you with too many choices.

I had a wonderful day…and am ready for MOM 2.0.

Bring it on.

I was not compensated for this post…all opinions are my own.

Germ phobia…

Flying with small children sparks anxiety in the most unflappable parent. Aside from having to prepare food and activities to fill the endless hours of travel, we need to worry about the spate of superbugs lurking on every interior surface. Take a page from high wattage germ-o-phobe playbook and learn develop a cootie arsenal a la Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth, Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba and Matt Lauer. Best bets to keep you healthy at 32,000 feet?  Antiseptic spritzers, airline seat covers , portable air purifiers and a good old nasal spray.

via Katie Holmes part of THE NEW MILE HIGH CLUB | Hollywood Hot Moms.

If you are germ phobic you are not alone. Airplanes are loaded with bacteria and viruses but there are ways to thwart them.

We just traveled roundtrip to the East coast last week and two out of three of us got sick with viral infections that made our “vacation” miserable and carried over to our homecoming.

I, for one, am wondering if any of these suggestions would have helped stave off these ferocious viruses.

Just the thought of carrying any more “stuff” on board makes me crazy …never mind what those around me will be thinking when I begin wiping down my seat and covering it top to bottom with a barrier seat cover.

What do you think…would you be willing to do some “work” to clean the environs of your space on your next flight???

Do you think these suggestions would help prevent infection or do you think that you own immune system will take care of you?