Wednesday, March 30, 2016

::Foodie:: Hello Fresh!

Let's talk food! Have any of you tried these companies that have fresh groceries and meal plans delivered right to your door, ready to be made? Well we have and I have to say we love it!!!

It all started with a Christmas gift from my Dad and Toni, a gift card for Blue Apron. We thought it sounded cool and eventually signed up for a week to be delivered in February.

Our first order was Chicken Schnitzel, Cod with Udon noodles, and a Pork dish. Everything was great.

Since Google is creepy and knows my every move, I then saw advertising for Hello Fresh, same concept. One shipment of three meals is $69.99 and the Google deal was $35 off. I signed up and picked my meals and they were delivered Monday evening, ready to be made.

These meals were amazing and we are official hooked, we just made our last meal of our fourth Hello Fresh shipment tonight. Every single meal has been so good. The flavors are unique and not combinations we would typically put together.

When you get the box it is packaged with ice and everything you would need except oil, butter, salt and pepper.

The packaging is seriously the cutest thing, like look at this ketchup and mayo they sent for burgers tonight!!

You get the recipe and all measurements for both a 2 serving and a 4 serving meal. (excuse the quality, these are pictures I took and texted to my best friend)

I like too that I am able to recreate any meals that I really love. The meals have a difficulty level and a time to cook listed on each one. I've only had 1 or 2 meals that were more difficult than the "easy" level. Overall, this is so fun to do and so easy. It's awesome as working parents to come home and have everything not only planned but also portioned and measured, there is very little thinking that actually goes into this----exactly what I need.

Here are some of the meals we've made.

Mahi Mahi Piccata over Cous Cous

Panko Parmesan Chicken Salad (this has been my fave!!)

Shrimp with Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Fiesty Fish Tacos with Cabbage and Grapefuit Slaw

Steak with Chimmicurri over Cous Cous

Everything has a different twist and honestly a few times I've been skeptical that the flavors wouldn't work but they always do!!! 

I highly recommend this, if you are interested my referral code is: 3SRJLL. You get $40 of of your first box if you use this code.

1Go to
2Choose your box
3Enter your personal code at checkout

Let me know if you try it! I'm curious to hear what you think!!

Mere :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

::Family:: Disney Vacation and Cruise Recap Part 2

Time to Cruise! (check out the first part here)

Our cruise was a 4 night cruise with stops in the Bahamas and Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. There is really SO MUCH to say, I could write a novel but I'll try to keep in high level and include a lessons learned in the end.

Before we even got on the boat we got to say hello to Pluto!!

We got on the boat and Dad immediately got in line to get a ticket to meet all of the princesses. These are only available on boarding day from 11:30-2:30. This means waiting in line ONCE for TEN minutes to meet all of the princesses as opposed to 30 minutes for ONE! Quite the deal---if you have a little princess in your party, this was a winner.

While Dad got that, we got to say hello to Belle.

We brought our double stroller on the boat with us. I read mixed reviews on whether or not to bring it and decided to go with it. It was nice for the check in and the parking garage but to be honest we didn't use it after that, it stayed folded up under the bed. Next time I would opt out of bringing it.

On the first day we went to the sail away party, had some lunch, passed out (the girls at least) and just explored the ship including the kids area. 

I will say that Macie slept in the Tula twice a day, every day. We used it on the island and around the ship. I was even able to watch Zootopia while she slept on my back. She hadn't used it for months so I brought it really not knowing if she would even like it!

The kids area was really great. Henley didn't want to stay there alone so we only went during Open Houses (which they have a few times throughout the cruise) when parents were allowed to join. 

We didn't get off of the boat the second day in the Bahamas. There weren't really any excursions that Macie could join us on and everything was quite expensive. Instead we enjoyed the Nemo Splash Pad (which was SO adorable), Putt Putt Golf, the pool and ice cream!

Day 3 in Castaway Cay we got off of the boat early, picked up some sand toys and headed out to the beach. The girls played in the sand (the water was freezing) and we played in the little splash pad there too.

We even ran into Olaf and Stitch on the island.

The day at sea we watched Zootopia, met some more characters, played at the splash pad, and visited the Bippity Bop Boutique where Henley got a mermaid makeover complete with mermaid striped sunscreen.

I prepaid the Photopass on the cruise and ended up saving 30%. I'm really glad I did that and didn't have to bother with deciding and ordering prints the last night of the cruise. The morning we were disembarking, I just swung by the Photo Shop on board and grabbed a USB drive with all of our pictures. Here are a few:

I think these are most of the highlights, now onto complaints! Dinner----dinner was a mess! A 1-2 hour four course meal with a 3 and 1 year old was a mess. The girls were over it before we even finished the second course. I wouldn't even have minded this as an option for eating if there were alternatives. My complaint is mainly that there were no other options! Macie is in bed at 7 and all of the other options started around 8-9. Really dinner was stressful and overwhelming, I dreaded it each night. 

Despite being a mess I got some cute pictures at dinner and pirate night.

Macie's sentiment regarding dinner.

 My second complaint is the formal night really isn't formal night. On previous cruises we've had an obvious night and everyone was dressed up. In the daily planner, dinner was listed as an optional dress up. We were running late and ended up in nice clothes but not dressy. There were VERY few people dressed up. I had a whole scheme of outfits picked out for that night for all of us and it totally passed me by. Partially my fault but I do wish the formal night wasn't optional and more enforced.

Now some of my faves:

  • Bippity Bop Boutique was so cute, Henley loved it and we got a new swim suit out of it.
  • Movies---they had Zootopia and a few other new movies playing in real deal theater which I loved.
  • The splash pad was great, both girls loved it.
  • The characters---we ran into a few in the halls and they were so great with the girls, Rapunzel even asked Henley if she'd see Pasquale while we were on the island.
I think if I were to do this again or recommend this to someone else I'd have to say everything was amazing and I'd def recommend. Next time I'd probably make sure Macie was at least 3 and potty trained. She wasn't able to go into the pool with Henley so if Henley wanted to be in the pool, hubs and I had to divide and conquer.Plus if she was 3, both girls could have gone to the kids club. I think Henley would have been more apt to go if she wasn't alone (then we would have had some adult alone time to relax).

Overall the vacation was great and the girls had a blast. It wasn't relaxing but I think relaxing vacations are long gone for us for a while. I am already brainstorming our next vacation---thinking something snowy in December or January!!!

Hope you enjoyed this recap, there was so much that happened so it was virtually impossible to have it all here but feel free to shoot me a question if you have any.

Mere :-)