Tag Archives: bucket list

Adventures in Florida: Gatorland

image02For those of you who remember my 20 before 25 list, I finally got to cross off zip lining! A few months back the rescue group we adopted Bally from had a silent auction on their Facebook page. I ended up winning the Gatorland basket which included free admission to the park (also referred to as the “Alligator Capital of the World”) as well as 2 complimentary zip lining reservations and a free snake and gator photo. 2 weekends ago, John and I finally decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather so we called and made our reservations and headed off to the park.

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We began our day with the zip line tour which took about an hour and a half in its entirety. The course has 5 zip lines in total and the instructors had us ziplining backwards, running off the platform and cannon balling (tucking your legs up to your chest for maximum speed) all throughout the course. And since we were in Gatorland after all, the entire course sent us zipping right over the cages of the park’s largest crocodiles and alligators. Unfortunately they don’t allow cameras on the course so I didn’t get any pictures, but I swear I did it so I’m officially crossing it off my list!

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After zip lining, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then stopped to see the free Gator Wrestling show. The handler opened up the gator’s mouth to show the audience and about got his hand bit off, then he demonstrated how little force it takes to keep a gator’s mouth shut by holding it closed with his chin. I was happy to watch from the sidelines!

crocodile crocodile2We wrapped up the day by walking through the alligator “breeding marsh” (home to hundreds of alligators) and we also picked up some hot dogs to feed the alligators and crocodiles. Our zip lining guide recommended we feed the crocodiles with the hot dog attached to a piece of bamboo so we followed his advice and had crocodiles jumping out of the water to eat the hot dogs. As you may have guessed, it wasn’t long before park staff yelled at us for doing so (but it was totally worth it). On our way out, we headed to the gator and snake photo station for our free picture and got to hold a live alligator and snake (ok, John held the snake).

gatorsnakeAll in all we had a fantastic day. Park admission is only $25 which is a steal considering the amount of gators and how close you can get to them as well as the 3 free shows they offer throughout the day. If you’re ever in the Orlando area, Gatorland is a MUST see!
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Fall Bucket List Recap

When Fall arrived, I put together a list of things I wanted to accomplish before winter set in. While I’ve actually crossed a ton of things off the list, I’ve totally failed as a blogger and have kept forgetting to actually blog about each of them. I thought I’d post a recap of the list here and catch up on all of the things I’ve crossed off the list so far.

  1. Visit a haunted house. 
  2. Carve pumpkins with John and decorate our house for Halloween.
  3. Try a pumpkin spice latte.
  4. Read 5 new books. On my list: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner and The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan.
  5. Make a pumpkin pie. 
  6. Dress up for Halloween with John.
  7. Drink warm apple cider.  Done! Read about it and get the recipe for spiked cider here.
  8. Have a scary movie marathon.
  9. Make our own Thanksgiving turkey. 
  10. Go to a pumpkin patch. 

#1: Visit a haunted house
Before this year, I had never been to a haunted house in my life, so I had NO idea what to expect. I’m one of those people who loves scary movies but actually hates being scared, if that makes any sense at all. But this year, I decided to face my fears and visit a haunted house for the first time. John and I settled on A Petrified Forest, an outdoor haunted house. As a result of deciding to go so close to Halloween, we ended up getting tickets to their glowstick night aka walk through the whole thing in complete darkness with only a glowstick to guide your way. The haunted house was complete with clowns, psych ward patients, creepy kids and of course a man with a chainsaw chasing you to the end. It was a perfect first haunted house experience and I wish I had photos to share!

#2: Carve pumpkins with John and decorate our house for Halloween
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halloween01 halloween02I also made some great painted pumpkins for inside, which you can see and read about here.

#5: Make a pumpkin pie, and #9: Make our own Thanksgiving Turkey
thanksgivingI would have taken a picture of the pie, but it got eaten so fast that I could only take a picture of the last slice. And while we opted not to make an entire turkey, we did tackle making a full Thanksgiving dinner together and it was a blast! Here are links to everything I made:

Cornish Game Hens with Garlic and Rosemary
Rachael Ray’s Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Sauteed Garlic Asparagus

The stuffing was from a box so it doesn’t count, and the pumpkin pie is a slight variation of the recipe from the Libby’s canned pumpkin.

#10: Visit a pumpkin patch
pumpkins03 pumpkins02 pumpkins01John and I definitely had our challenges finding a pumpkin patch, but we eventually settled for one near our house. Unfortunately for us only GIANT pumpkins were left. We could barely carry them to the car!

What fun things have you been doing this fall?
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20 before 25: #1 Go on a Cruise


Our welcome sign to Nassau, The Bahamas

When I first started writing this post, I was going to give a play by play of everything John and I did while on our cruise to the Bahamas, but after mulling it over for a bit I decided it’d be way more fun to list out what made me enjoy this mini getaway so much. I’m also super excited to have crossed #1 off my 20 before 25 list!


Making our way into the port in Nassau

Our cruise ship docked in Nassau

Being around someone you have fun with no matter what.One of the things I love most about being with John is that I have just as much fun snorkeling in a coral reef with him as I do sitting at home in our PJs watching TV. He makes everything so fun and is such a joy to be around. The cruise was no exception! Sure we both had to deal with sea sickness and we missed the fancy dinner and didn’t get to sport our new outfits, but we made the most of our vacation. We also focused on the most important thing: having fun and enjoying each other’s company.



John and I on the ship while making our way to the port

Trying new things. Neither John or I had ever snorkeled before and I kind of started to panic inside when the time actually came to do it. I was terrified of seeing a shark, swallowing salt water, or having a hard time breathing through the snorkel tube. I found myself stalling when it was time to get in the water until John finally just got up and started walking down the stairs, forcing me to follow. Once I got in the water it was so fun doing something new and exciting that I’d never done before. I stuck my face in the water and was greeted by a school of tropical fish. I managed to swallow some salt water but hey, it made things a little more exciting and I washed the taste out with some delicious rum punch afterwards.


John in his snorkel gear, unlimited rum punch after

The importance of a little R&R. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life so a cruise was the perfect getaway. Focusing on nothing besides drinking, eating and relaxing really gave my body the recharge it needed. It also made it incredibly hard to go back to work on Tuesday!

Staying positive.The seas were rough during our whole cruise which unfortunately led to the captain canceling our second day in the Bahamas. We were looking forward to a lazy day on the beach at Royal Caribbean’s private island but instead ended up with a day at sea. It would have been easy to whine and complain and be angry, but instead John and I headed for the pool and relaxed together determined to enjoy the day anyway. We got to watch a belly flop contest, drink out of a pineapple, listen to a great Calypso band and see a pre dinner show, all things we probably wouldn’t have gotten to experience otherwise.


Relaxing by the pool during our unplanned day at sea

Drinking out of a pineapple (there were a few refills…)

Food (and drink). There was never a shortage of either on the boat! There was also an ice cream machine (which we visited daily) and the buffet food was great. When we got to the Bahamas we tried conch fritters and for some reason thought we could drink these gigantic tropical drinks without getting too drunk for dinner. We were totally wrong (and poor John took a drunken fall in the bathroom resulting in a seriously bruised nose). Being surrounded by so much food and drink on a daily basis was definitely a dream come true.


My first drink on the island!

Conch fritters

Our giant drinks from Senor Frogs

Our vacation definitely had its challenges (like my sea sickness and John’s bathroom fall) but I wouldn’t have had it any other way – okay I would have taken John’s injury out of the mix! It was great to spend quality time with John and to unplug from life for a few days. PS – the fact that these pictures are up here is a miracle. I accidentally sent our point and shoot camera through the dryer after the cruise (which we used to take most of the pictures you see here) and it got totally fried. Lucky for us, the SD card remained intact and our pictures lived to tell the tale! Also, a huge thanks to the ladies who helped out with vacation week last week!

What are your favorite things about vacation?

Fall bucket list


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Can you believe it’s already October? This year has flown by and it’s hard to believe that in a mere two weeks John and I will be on our cruise in the Bahamas. Since Fall is one of my favorite seasons, I want to make the most of it this year by creating a fall bucket list. I was inspired by Champagne Dreams, Boxed Wine Budget and pretty little things to put this list together, so thanks ladies!

  1. Visit a haunted house. To this day, I have never been to a haunted house for Halloween but have always wanted to go. I want to make it happen this year!
  2. Carve pumpkins with John and decorate our house for Halloween. We carved pumpkins together last year and had a blast but I still have never decorated my own place for Halloween. We already bought a light up spider to hang outside so I’m excited to find some more fun festive decorations!
  3. Try a pumpkin spice latte. I love pumpkin flavored or scented anything, so it’s pretty shocking that I’ve never had a pumpkin spice latte.
  4. Read 5 new books. On my list: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner and The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan.
  5. Make a pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts, but I’ve never made it for myself. I’m a little baking challenged…so this could be interesting.
  6. Dress up for Halloween with John. We went with a bunch of friends last year as characters from the Wizard of Oz, so we have to think of something equally as good this year!
  7. Drink warm apple cider. We bought apple cider from Target the other day and it really got me in the fall mindset. John mentioned that he loves drinking it warm so I’ll have to try that this year (spiked, of course).
  8. Have a scary movie marathon. As scared as I get during horror movies, I love watching them. Now that I have a man to keep me safe at night I’m definitely going to have an all day scary movie marathon!
  9. Make our own Thanksgiving turkey. This is a huge goal, but since John and I won’t be able to get home for Thanksgiving this year I want to try to make a turkey on our own.
  10. Go to a pumpkin patch. Last year we picked our pumpkins from a local church parking lot (city living) so this year I’d love to visit a pumpkin patch.

What are you excited to do this fall?

We’re going on a cruise!

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Lucky for John and I, August means we get 3 paychecks this month. Since we’ve been on TONS of vacations this summer but haven’t yet done something just the two of us, we decided to take advantage of those extra paychecks and use them to have some fun. What better way to do that than to go on a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas?!

I’ve never been on a cruise so I’m super excited to spend a few days at sea. While the cruise isn’t until the beginning of October I still can’t stop thinking about it and all the fun things we’ll get to do. The ship has tons of excursions available, snorkeling being one of our favorites and one we are definitely going to try, and we’ll get a full 2 days in the Bahamas. I can’t wait to have this experience and I’m also pumped to cross #1 off of my 20 before 25 list!

Since I am oh so excited for the cruise but wanted to make this post a little more interesting than me getting all giddy about our upcoming vacation, I wanted to share a few of my favorite photos from places John and I have been or fun things we’ve done together in the past. Enjoy!

One of my favorite pics of us. Taken in Tybee Island, GA

Daytona Beach, FL…a pic from when we were still long distance and I hadn’t yet moved. Feels like forever ago!

Hot air ballooning for John’s bday this past June


Us with the chase vehicle after the hot air balloon landed (very bouncy, quite the experience!)


John feeding me to Trex in the Jurassic Park exhibit at Universal – read more about this day here


Our first canoeing experience together at Wikewa Springs


Remember that gator I mentioned when I told you about John needing to see it up close and personal? I know it’s not the hugest…but I felt very vulnerable being this close in a canoe!


Photo from our trip to Duck, NC this year with John’s family. Read about it and see more pics here.

What fun places have you been or what exciting things have you done? Are you squeezing in any last minute summer vacations?