Baby Girl left on Friday and although we’ve had a tearful weekend, we’re doing okay.  It helps that her CASA worker reached out to me and said he would keep me updated on how she is doing.  I’m sure she’s fine and I want her to be doing well, although there is that tiny piece that hopes she misses us so terribly that she’s making everyone’s life miserable and they want to send her back.  That’s the selfish part of me.

But this post isn’t going to be all about Baby Girl or even about foster care.  This post is going to be about another love of mine . . . . .



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We really do enjoy traveling, although foster care is making travel a bit challenging.

Our main travel the last few years has consisted of cruises and travel between Texas and Illinois.  The girls and I hit the road a few years ago and went to California, but that’s pretty much it.

Between hubby and I, we’ve seen almost all 50 states.  While in the Army, hubby spent two years in Germany, but didn’t take the opportunity to see other parts of Europe.  Other than Guatemala, Ethiopia and cruise ports, I’ve never visited many places outside of the U.S. and think I would very much enjoy seeing Europe.  I think the girls would enjoy it as well, plus, what a great opportunity for some road schooling.

We currently have a deposit down on a cruise for next year, but are discussing the possibility of canceling the cruise and planning a European vacation.

At one time, we had a European cruise scheduled, but we switched that to a Caribbean cruise because hubby really doesn’t want to waste time on a ship when we could be traveling around Europe.

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Tonight, he asked me where in Europe I would like to go and I didn’t have an answer for him.  There are so many choices!!!!!

Do we visit Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, France, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Spain . . . . the list goes on.

It’s not like we’ll be able to spend a month traveling around Europe, although that would be awesome.  Financially, we just can’t do that, so if we can make it happen, we’ll likely only have 2 weeks.

So here is my question to you.

If you had two weeks to travel around Europe, which countries would you visit and why?




Education Thru Travel

Pretty much everything we do provides a learning opportunity for the girls.  So when we plan travel, we like to make sure it’s something we will all enjoy.

In the past, we have made our travel plans and then simply looked forward to what was in store.  This time I’ve decided to change it up a bit and will have the girls work on some projects leading up to travel time.

For those who have been following my blog since the beginning of the year, you are aware that one of our favorite ways to travel is by boat.  To be exact, by cruise ship.

During our cruise in February, we booked two more cruises.  Since then, hubby and I have spent quite a bit of time discussing our plans and decided to change them completely.

No, this doesn’t mean we’ve cancelled the cruises.  That would be crazy!!!!!

We simply changed the cruises.

Both cruises will be to the Caribbean, which is my favorite winter destination.

This winter we will be traveling again on Allure of the Seas.


This time though we’ll be heading to Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico.

The following winter we will be on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas.

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She is so new in fact, that she is still being built and won’t sail until Spring, 2018.  Cruises will begin in Mediterranean before she sails to the U.S. in October, 2018.

On Symphony we’ll visit St. Kitts, St. Thomas and the Bahamas.

So what kinds of things can the girls be learning between now and our cruises?

  1.  How cruise ships are built?
  2.  History and facts on each of the islands we will be visiting.
  3.  Caribbean sea life.
  4.  Caribbean geography.

The possibilities are endless.



Varied Interests

Reading thru past blog posts, it is very clear that I have three primary interests . . . . .




I lump children and family together, but could also add adoption and foster care into this group.  Adoption brought Lili and Naomi into my life.  They are my children and therefore my family.  Foster care has also been a big part of my life and the children who have come into my life because of foster care are very important to me.  Hubby, my children, extended family, foster children and friends who I consider family are so very important in my life.


Travel!  I adore travel and everything about it from planning to new experiences.  Without travel, I feel like something is missing in my life.

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Gardening is my hobby.  I am in my happy place when my hands are in the soil.  I enjoy the planting a seed and get excited when I see the first signs of life emerge thru the soil.  Picking my first ripe fruit or vegetable gives me a thrill.  Seeing bumblebees and butterflies fly from flower to flower puts a smile on my face.  I get excited about exploring and trying new gardening techniques or growing something for the first time.


(It was windy when I took this picture.)

What are your interests?



Day 2 – At Sea

One of my favorite parts of the day was to get up before the rest of my family, grab my camera and head out to our balcony for sunrise photos.  Typically, I would be joined a few minutes later by one or both girls, but those few minutes in the morning, with only the sunrise and sound of the ocean were so beautiful and relaxing.

Dream Works Character Breakfast!

Lili’s cupcake decorating class creations.

Naomi’s cupcake decorating class creations.

Liberty of the Seas has many activities for their guests and the girls really enjoyed decorating cupcakes.  We had done it last year on Allure of the Seas, but only decorated one cupcake and got to pick out a second cupcake.  Decorating three cupcakes was a much better deal and everyone had a good time.


It was formal night in the dining room.  Lili despises dressing up, but agreed to this shirt with a cute black skort and black sandals.  Not sure who she is looking at in this photo, but this was our dining room table every night of the cruise.  We very much enjoyed our dining room experience on Liberty of the Seas.  Our waiter and assistant were awesome and we had wonderful meals each night.


Our wait staff assistant taught everyone in her section how to use a napkin to create cat ears.  Naomi’s are a little askew, but she thought it was awesome and was creating and wearing cat ears at some point each evening at dinner. 

Another nice day at sea!



Busy Day

I’ve been trying to get into a better blogging routine in the last week and was doing pretty well until today.

We head out on our cruise this Sunday and I am in full cleaning and packing mode.  As such, my blog has taken a back seat.

While we’re gone, I will be disconnecting, so there will be no blog posts published.  I do, however, plan to write a little something every day.  When I return, I should have several posts, with photos, ready to share.

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Hubby and I had a short discussion about seeing castles in Europe.  I jokingly said we should go on a castle tour of Europe.  He didn’t agree.

He did suggest we see the Neuschwanstein Castle (or is it Castle Neuschwanstein) in Germany though.

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And of all the places we’ve talked about visiting in Europe, here are some of the possible castles we could see.


Castle of Coco in Spain

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Brodick Castle in Scotland


Eltz Castle in Germany

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Mont Saint-Michel in France

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Castle Frankenstein in Germany

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Chateau de Versailles in France

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Prague Castle in the Czech Republic

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Like I said, I was just joking when I told hubby we should go on a castle tour in Europe.  Although, maybe seeing a few of these wouldn’t be so bad!



Homeschool Dreams

Lili loves studying history.  Naomi is just okay studying history, but her study of the fall of Rome and the rise of the Renaissance seems to capture her interest a little more.

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Lili is studying Victoria’s Empire currently, and their studies makes planning a European vacation more appealing than ever.

My homeschooling dream has been some book study at home, with travel to help the girls better understand what they have learned.  So completing our history studies this year followed by a trip to visit some of the places they have been learning about will help fulfill my home school dream.

Traveling Europe

We’re 6 days away from our next cruise while hubby and I discuss a possible trip to Europe.

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Hubby lived in Germany, but that was 32 years ago and as he tells me now, he really didn’t care about travel when he was there.  He regrets that a bit now and as we discuss what countries we would like to visit, we realize our dreams of seeing Europe will require many weeks of travel.  We’ll likely only have a couple of weeks at a time, so we are beginning to do a little planning around which countries we want to see first.  We are making decisions on what we want to see in each country and deciding the best order in which to see each country.  We’re also checking into the best form(s) of transportation to get from country to country.

Hubby and I are in agreement on several countries . . . .

– Ireland

– Scotland

– Sweden

– Denmark

– Germany

– The Netherlands

– Switzerland

– France

Hubby is also interested in seeing Italy, where I’m interested in seeing the Czech Republic, Norway, and Spain.

At least we have a start and can begin planning our Great European Get Away (GEGA).

We’re also hoping to make a trip up to Toronto, Ontario sometime in the next year.

Great adventures await!

If you have traveled to Europe, which countries are your favorite?

Are there any others you recommend we consider?  If so, why?





Travel Hopes and Dreams

It seems my blog has turned into a travel blog of sorts.  Not a blog where I share about my daily travels across the world (although that would be wonderful), but more about my travel hopes and dreams.

The dream of traveling the world isn’t something I’ve always had.  For most of my life, I simply hoped to see all of the U.S.

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To date, I have been to 41 states, so I have some work to do there.  However, my desire to see other parts of the world is growing stronger all the time.

Canada is high on that list.

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I find it very sad that we lived in Washington state for so many years and never made the drive to British Columbia.  However, Toronto seems to get rave reviews from those who have visited.  Hubby was there several years ago on business and was highly impressed during his short time there.  Of course there is always the possibility of combining my love of cruising with a visit to the eastern coast of Canada 🙂

I would also love to visit Denmark some day.

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I’ve read nothing but good things about Denmark and there is so many things to see.

Germany is another country on my bucket list.

I would love to see the place hubby spent two years of his Army life.  I would like to see the place my friend is from.  Plus, it’s close to Denmark so we can visit at the same time.

And if we’re going to Germany we might as well see Switzerland.

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Maybe on to France.

I’ve spent my life learning European history, reading books, seeing pictures, and movies about all these places I’ve never been.  Now I want to experience the castles, see the windmills, the Matterhorn (other than the Disneyland version), see the Mediterranean Sea, visit museums, see the art, the architecture,  and just enjoy life outside the U.S.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your geography lesson for the day 🙂 and now I’m off to buy a lottery ticket in hopes of winning so I can live out my travel hopes and dreams.

Until then, where have your travels taken you?

What has been your favorite place to visit?

Is there a place which you long to revisit or even stay?

Or maybe you are an ex-pat living out your dream.  Where has that dream taken you?

I’m always interested in learning about new places that I can add to my travel hopes and dreams list.



9 More Days

Have I mentioned just how much I like to travel.  My girls have the travel bug as well.  Hubby has it too, but not as much as the girls and I do.

By far, my most favorite vacation is cruising and one nice thing about living in Texas, is that we are a pretty easy drive to the cruise port in Galveston.  Living in Illinois meant either a minimum two-day drive or a flight to get to a cruise port.  Not that we won’t fly to another cruise port in the future.  After all, I do have my eye on a couple different cruises out of Puerto Rico on our next cruise, but this time all we need to do is pack up the Suburban and drive south.

Our upcoming cruise is on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

Liberty of the Seas

We leave in 9 days for 7 fun-filled days on the sea!!!!

All four of us are excited and so ready for this trip.  Plus, we get to introduce a friend and her daughter to cruising.  I’m hoping to get them hooked 🙂

My favorite time for cruising is during the winter months.  The cost tends to be lower as it’s not prime travel season plus it’s always nice to go further south into warmer weather in the winter.  Don’t misunderstand me though.  I would be more than happy to try out a summer cruise 😉

Do you like to travel?

Do you have a favorite vacation destination?

Have you ever been on a cruise?