Jenny at Metamorfit has a series she calls “Push Away the Screen”. She describes it as:
Push Away the Screen is a phrase that I use to describe activities that I do with my family that gets us up and out; away from the TV, iToys, video games, etc…
Last weekend I was lucky enough to push away the screen with my family for almost 3 days! We had some good-ole-fashioned family fun and a quick resort getaway. Here’s what happened…
Friday morning I went to work as usual, and I had one project to focus on with one client – my daughter’s school. While I was there, it was International Day of Peace, and the kids made a giant peace sign from pinwheels in the ground. They wanted an aerial photo, so I got to go with maintenance through the boys bathroom up to the roof to take the photo.
We were finished with our work by 2pm – love early Fridays! I could have worked on other projects for the remainder of the day, but I received a surprise phone call from Denise saying she was in St Pete! I zipped over to Panera to meet with her and Abby, the owner of Hoola Monsters, about how Tampa Bay Bloggers could help with the promotion of the Hoola Monsters DVD release party.
After our impromptu meeting, I introduced Denise to Revolve, the trendy, inexpensive consignment shop my daughters love to go to. You can easily spend $15 there and find a trendy piece to complement your wardrobe or round out an outfit. They are also great for costume odds and ends. Denise tried on some clothes, but I am on a spending freeze because we want to move in November, and I know my mortgage guys are watching us like hawks.
While in Revolve, my cell was beeping like crazy with texts from my Realtor. We had someone who wanted to see the house that afternoon, another that evening, and 3 for Saturday. Plus, we had an open house scheduled for Sunday.
We scheduled the Sunday open house because I knew we’d be in Orlando with friends so the Realtor could have free reign over my home. I didn’t know we’d have so many showings before we left! Denise and I zipped up to Starbucks so she could get coffee and I could avoid being home while the Realtor showed the 3:45 appointment.
Then DD1, her boyfriend, my husband and I all met at home. The teens wanted to make pancakes for dinner, and they took over the kitchen. We had to eat quickly so we could leave the house before the 6:30pm showing and get to the high school football game on time. The whole reason we went to the game was because the 2 coaches who coach along with Brian for cross country and track were putting on inflatable sumo wrestling suits during halftime and having a mock sumo wrestling match! They were hysterical and got more cheering than the cheerleaders.
The people coming to view the house were actually ten minutes early, and they had a baby daughter. I told them we raised our daughters in this house, and pointed to DD1. When we moved in (Jan. 2000) we had a 2 year old and 3 year old, and now we have 2 high schoolers! We never thought we’d be in this house for 13 years…
We went to the football game, enjoyed the sumo wrestling match, and left after half time.
We were getting slaughtered, and the teens wanted to leave but aren’t allowed home along with a boyfriend. When we got home, I popped some fresh popcorn on the stove for everyone, and we taught the boy friend how to play mah jongg. I even snapped a photo during the game and texted his mom that we were turning him into an old, Jewish lady.
(Funny segue, my grandmother plays mah jongg with a group of 4 women. She is Thelma, and there is another Thelma, and Thelmer and a Selma!)
Saturday morning DD1 had a cross country meet in Lakeland, and we had friends in Orlando from Savannah. We decided to meet up after her cross country meet and stay at the same hotel overnight. Brian used some credit card points to book a room for us at the Caribe Royale. He said we have driven past it a zillion times and it always looked pretty, so he checked to see if our points would work there. Not only were we able to use them, but the same number of points qualified us for either a suite or a 2-bedroom villa, so we opted for the villa. I called from the road and they rushed getting our room ready so we could check in upon arrival – which was awesome.
I’m so glad we got the villa! It was like a 1,000 square foot apartment! We had a full kitchen with dining area, a washer/dryer, the kids had their own bedroom and full bath, there was a living room with a pull out couch and balcony overlooking the pool and pond, and we had the master suite with king size bed, our own TV, a whirlpool tub, 2 dressing areas and full bathroom with glassed-in shower!
After the race was over and our friends had a few hours at a Disney water park, we all spent the rest of Saturday by the pool. DD1 had a lot of homework to do, and her school is all iPad-ready now, so she was disappointed that the wifi in the hotel room wasn’t included. BUT if you get a cabana by the pool, wifi is included! We were treated to 2 cabanas, actually, which not only gives you lounge chairs in the shade and wifi, but also fluffy towels and a cooler with bottled water, ice packs and washcloths. We also received 2 drink tickets per cabana. (So maybe she didn’t push her screen away very well…)
I got a natural peach mango smoothie mixed with white rum and a Grand Marnier floater. The smiley bartender was helpful, friendly, and not at all stingy! Brian got a margarita, and my friend Cindy had a not-too-sweet Kahlua Colada.
The pool is really pretty with a waterfall on one side and a curvy slide around the bend from it. There is also a kids pool and playground behind a separate fence. Between the two is a colorful parrot occasionally squawking at those passing by. Our friends had a one year old with them, and she did great in the kid pool, on the playground, and loved the macaw! She was also able to go down the slide on a parent’s lap. Her super-patient daddy did that many time, but ironically the one time I took a photo she was with mom.
I think we could have stayed by the pool all day and night. The level of shade in the cabana and breeze outside were just perfect. It’s like we were in a private resort oasis in the midst of all of the excitement of Orlando.
But then the baby’s diaper exploded and we decided to call it a day. She got cleaned up and fed, and then we all met in our humungous villa for dinner. We were surprised to find a welcome gift when we returned to our room. There was a pretty box full of snacks like chocolate covered graham crackers and yogurt covered pretzels! DD2 quickly tried to confiscate the Oreos for herself because I won’t buy them at home.
Recently, my friends Saudi and Andrei moved to Orlando. We invited them for dinner, and they were kind enough to stop at the store on the way. We had salad makings (spinach, strawberries, goat cheese) and lots of cheese and crackers. They brought some drinks and pizzas. And I had half of a homemade (by my mom) chocolate orange cake that I brought from my home freezer.
Throughout dinner I also got text messages that the couple with the baby girl who visited my house wanted to make an offer. They were hoping we’d respond to their offer BEFORE our Sunday open house, but our Realtor let them know we were out of town and wouldn’t be responding until Monday.
This is thoughtful, but only works if the cleaning crew turns the ice maker back ON before the next guest arrives…
Dinner was yummy, and followed up by the card game Nuts! You are a squirrel and some of the cards are nuts you are trying to gather, while others are cards you can use to block the other squirrels from taking your nuts. We played until it was pushing 11pm and we were all tired. One of our Orlando friends works at Disney and said she could get my daughters in free the next day, so my kids left with them and had a sleep over, and spent Sunday at the Magic Kingdom.
Little girls who long to be Princesses sometimes grow up to be teens who wish they could play Princesses in the theme parks. Those are my girls. They went to the new area of Fantasyland where the Snow White ride used to be, which is now a queue to meet Princesses. They also met Ariel in her grotto and rode that new ride, and had lunch (and luscious desserts) in the new Beauty and the Beast castle.
In the meantime we used 2 passes for the breakfast buffet at the Caribe Royal to try some yummies. The breakfast burritos were great, the fruit selection was pretty good, the breakfast potatoes were cold and disappointing, and the made to order omelets were perfection! As a treat I also had half of a mini waffle with some whipped cream on top.
Then we got our 2 cabanas for the day and spent time with our friends by the pool again. They had to be on the road to Jacksonville by noon (the baby’s nap time) and we had a 2pm checkout, so we just stayed through the morning. The pool area was very quiet and chill, and we talked a bit about their plans for possibly moving to the area.
After leaving the Caribe Royale, Brian and I had one hour before we were scheduled to pick up the girls. We decided to get lunch. We headed through the touristy area and found a shopping center with a TGIFridays, a Chilis and a Fuddruckers. We ended up at Fudds because neither of us had ever eaten at one. My cousin Bradley always raved about it.
Brian got a cheeseburger, I had a salmon fillet sandwich, and we shared some sweet potatoes. There was a football game on TV, and we tucked ourselves into a booth and chilled some more. What a relaxing weekend! And then the Realtor texted asking when we’d be back so we could meet about the offer she received from the family who liked our house. We hoped a competing offer would come out of the open house, but nothing did. It only takes ONE GOOD ONE though!
So we drove home, unpacked, and met with the Realtor. We learned about the parts of the contract and submitted a counter offer! We’re on the way to selling our house!
If you are looking for a quiet place to enjoy a vacation that is still very convenient to all of the attractions Orlando has to offer, check out the beautiful Caribe Royal! Their upcoming special is a great Thanksgiving Shop & Dine Package that honestly is an amazing deal; and you won’t even have to miss Black Friday shopping! Check it out… The nightly rate starts at $115 plus tax for a one-bedroom suite for November 24 – December 2, 2013, and includes all of these items:
- $15 / night Food and Beverage credit
- $50 Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Ave Gift Card
- 20% Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet discount
- Guaranteed 2pm late check-out
- Double Stash Hotel Rewards® Points
- Complimentary transportation to Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Ave Midnight Madness Sale
I received 2 free cabanas each day plus snacks in exchange for this post, but all of the opinions are my own. The photos are mine, too, except I didn’t take the ones in the Magic Kingdom.