Peachhead™ Approved Vacations: Cabo San Lucas – November 2010

Thinking of Vacationing in Cabo? Check out this Review by Peachhead™ Founder Linda Perry
I left rainy Los Angeles to visit the warm hot sun in Cabo San Lucas during our Thanksgiving break. We flew on American and you are now able to check in online for international flights. You still have to go to the counter to check in your bags but they have baggage check in only so it was much quicker. Then we walked right through the security with our boarding passes in hand.
When we arrived in Cabo we had to go through customs. Once completed we had everyone trying to give us a ride to our hotel. Luckily the hotel we were staying at had already set up the transportation for us so we just walked past everyone until we found the correct company. The drive from the airport to the our hotel was 45 minutes. We were staying at the Villa del Palmar , in a 2 bedroom ocean front suite. What an incredible room. There were 2 bedrooms, a living room with a pull-out sofa, a dining area, full kitchen, and even a den with a pull-out sofa. The room also has a washer and dryer and even a Jacuzzi on the patio overlooking the ocean….what a great way to end the day.
The hotel has a large pool with a water slide shaped like a whale, and the staff play games and music and entertain at the pool. We like to hang out at the beach so that is where we hung out during the day. We immediately went in the water and it felt so great…..not too cold. They have an adult and a kids menu at the beach/pool (kids’ menu had grilled chicken, hot dogs, hamburger, pasta, mac and cheese, etc). They also have a kids’ pool that is very shallow with water shooting out.
The hotel has a game room with wii, playstation, x-box, and foosball. You pay by the hour to use it. There is also a little grocery store and an ice cream shop on the property.
Screen shot 2010-12-06 at 2.31.02 PM.pngFor our first night of dinner we went to El Faro Restaurant at the Villa del Arco Hotel. The restaurant is an oyster, sushi and tequila bar that also serves hot and cold Asian-inspired specialties. They have tables outside, as well as couches, and we sat on the couches overlooking the water. The food was fantastic. We ordered miso soup, chicken fried rice, beef filet with sesame seeds, shrimp tempura, sashimi, and sushi rolls. We really enjoyed our dinner. We were so stuffed–but there is always room for dessert, so we had the chocolate cake and the milk cake…yes, milk cake. Very fluffy, soft and yummy.
After spending a magnificent day in the sun we were off to our Swim with the Dolphins at Cabo Dolphins . What an amazing experience. We were grouped into groups of 8 and each person in the group had the opportunity to feed, dance, shake hands, pet, kiss, be pulled in the water by holding the dolphins’ fins, and take photos with the dolphin. My girls were in heaven and I have to admit I was loving it, too. It was a 45-minute adventure that my kids will remember forever. They have different packages based on your kids’ ages.
For dinner that night we went to La Casona Restaurant, at Villa La Estancia Hotel–right next door to the Villa del Palmar. I had no idea that Cabo could have such great food. This restaurant was very elegant. We sat outside right next to the fireplace. They have blankets on the back of the chairs in case you get cold and they even brought a stand over to me to hang my purse on. They started the dinner by bringing us a bread plate with a choice of at least 6 different breads, including a cheese bread that had soft melted cheese inside…yum. They also had a plate of dipping sauces and spreads for the bread. Next was the chef’s complimentary bite-sized appetizer. We ordered a Caesar salad that was made tableside and it was quite the show and tasted amazing. Even the soup was incredible. I had the crispy goat cheese ravioli that was followed by a spoonful of sorbet to prepare for our main course. They have a kids’ menu so my daughter had the spaghetti, but we also got her a side of grilled chicken. They are known for their steaks and they offer quite a selection, ranging from Angus to Prime to Kobe. I went for the prime filet and it was amazing. As full as we all were, we couldn’t pass up dessert when we saw they had our favorite warm chocolate cake. It was served with ice cream in a little cup and it was superb. The perfect ending to the perfect dinner….but wait….as you leave the restaurant they have a plate filled with little chocolate truffles to enjoy as you walk back to your room. By far one of the best meals I have had in a long time and certainly the best I have ever had in Cabo. Days later I was still thinking about that dinner and think it was one of my all-time favorite dinners.
Our next evening we went on the Pirate Adventure . They have three different adventures: Whale Watching Tour, Snorkeling Tour, and the Sunset Tour. We went on the Sunset Tour but were lucky enough to see whales as well….what a sight. The adventure is a 2 ½ hour boat tour where you sail by the Arch and Lover’s Beach. The view was incredible at sunset. They offer complimentary snacks (wings, chips and salsa, and sandwiches) and an open bar. The entire crew was full of energy. It was a fun family adventure. They put on a little show where they get everyone up dancing and at the end of the night they put on a pirate show and end the evening with fireworks. After our cruise, we headed to Panchos for dinner. They have great chips and salsa and the most tequila of any place in the world (or so they say). The food was good as well. They had mariachi singers come to our table and sing…the kids loved that.
Here is the link for the “Fall into Winter” promotion that is currently on sale at the Cabo resorts & Vallarta resorts through the Villa Group Resorts:
The sale is on now and reservations must be booked by December 19, 2010 for travel up until December 19, 2011. There is a blackout for the Christmas/New Year’s week, though. If you decide to stay there, let them know you heard about it on Peachhead.
Our last night in Cabo we switched to the Hilton Los Cabos . We stayed here years ago and were anxious to return after hearing of their renovations. This hotel has the nicest infinity pools. The hardest thing was trying to decide where to sit because each location had its own charm. I chose the top deck because you look into the infinity pool, which looks like it is dropping into the ocean. The pool water is a comfortably warm/cool temperature. There are 2 pools and 2 Jacuzzis. They also have a kids’ club for ages 4 – 12 with games, air hockey, and wii games. The best part is they don’t charge you to leave your kids there. The beach water is very calm here (although it is a bit of a walk from the pool to the water). We rented jet skis and had a blast riding along the water. We ordered lunch at the pool and I have to say that this was probably the best pool food I have had at any hotel. They have 2 restaurants to order from (and the pool server will bring you the food from either restaurant). One is a sushi restaurant which was really good. The other serves fresh made pizzas, tacos, hamburgers and more. The kids’ menu even had filet on it that Amber thought was amazing. After hanging at the pool and the beach all day we headed to San Jose for dinner ($20 taxi ride). We ate at Morgans Restaurant and Cellar. The atmosphere was great and the food was delish. We walked around the shops a bit in San Jose and then headed back to the hotel for a nightcap. The bar at the Hilton is very nicely designed and very comfortable…full of couches and pillows. No live music (although they start that in January) but they have large tvs with sports on.
Cabo San Lucas is a great getaway with or without kids. The flight is only 2 ½ hours and you are in a completely different world.
My accommodations at Villa del Palmar, activities, and dinners at El Faro and La Casona were hosted by Villa Group Resort.
For more great vacation options, visit Linda at Peachhead.net.

Tips to Avoid the Summer Reading Slump

9b7ac7de-ec5f-4524-a087-7556ec0ec3ea.jpegGuest contributor and MobiStories.com producer Wendy Toone, offers great tips this week on how your kids can avoid brain drain when they’re out of school.
It’s Summertime! Yipppee! Time for swimming, trips to the beach, camping, and all sorts of “no more school” activities. However, many kids suffer from a backward slide in their reading development when reading activities wane over the summer months.
Students can lose as much as three month’s worth of reading level during the school break. Research shows that younger elementary school students rarely make up deficits in reading once they fall behind. Conversely, students who read during the summer could end up three months ahead, too.
Children will benefit more if their reading activities are fun and not looked upon as ‘homework.’ While reading books is important, games that use letter-recognition, alphabetizing, syllable, rhyming and rhythm skills can keep kids’ reading skills sharp without cracking open a book. If you have a road trip or plane excursion planned, use that travel time wisely. Here are some games to try when traveling on summer vacations:
Create a New Ending:
Exercise their storytelling skills by rewriting their favorite story or a book they just finished…’It could also have ended like this….’
Write That Tune
Remember the game show “Name That Tune”? Pick a familiar song and rewrite the lyrics….a topic such as “gardening” sung to the tune of “Frere Jacques” ?? This exercise works on rhyming, syllable recognition, creativity, and can expand vocabulary.
Kids get carsick reading but can watch movies on DVD? Try digital books.
Amazon’s Kindle is amazing for Young Adult and adult digibooks, but they don’t have children’s titles. Only publishers such as MobiStories.com provide children’s picture books in color, narrated and ready for on-the-go reading practice. Order from digital publishers that offer downloads to your mobile devices for convenience.
Car Games:
Animal ABC – 2 ways to play…either start w/ “A” and name as many animals (aardvark, alligator, antelope) as you can, or take turns (Cindy does “B”, Joey has “C”). Great for young readers (K – 2nd grade). Can make it more challenging by starting the next animal’s beginning letter w/ previous animal’s ending letter, i.e. dog -> goose-> elephant.
Roadsign Roundup – Same idea, but this time call out words seen alongside the road in alpha order: billboards, safety signs, signs of businesses being passed. Good for intermediate readers (2nd – 5th grade).
Pimp My Plate – Using letters found on license plates, create what the personalized plate meaning would be (phrase, name of their business, whatever you can come up with). Can work on alliteration, homophones and creativity. Good one for advanced/older readers who need something more challenging.
Where Do I Turn – This one isn’t really a game, but why not let the kids pass a little time reading the map and becoming the navigator. You trust them, right??
TrueText – If they’ve got the phone and you have unlimited texting, you could institute a ‘must spell it correctly – no text jargon’ rule for a portion of (or the whole?) trip. Of course, no texting to or from the driver, please.
So whether you’re traveling by car, plane, train, or sticking around for a “staycation,” remember to incorporate reading activities into your children’s summer schedules. Read to them, read with them, and give them plenty of encouragement to keep their reading skills from sliding in the wrong direction. Happy reading!!
a5b224b2-03de-47b6-ac1f-08120eaf7d35.jpegWendy Toone is a child expert, having owned and operated a leading children’s fitness center and now produces MobiStories, Digital Books for KidsTM. She is a cableAce-award winning television producer and has worked on hundreds of television commercials as a Production Manager after spending a decade onstage as a professional dancer. Wendy’s two children have been inspirational in the creation of MobiStories.
To download a free digital book for your PC visit MobiStories.com, click on Summer (in the Ages 2 – 4 category) add it to the cart and Michelle Obama then enter the code SUM0710 in the Coupon Code Box.
*This post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.

Capri Sun Fun this Weekend at Westchester Children’s Museum Event

Explore-a-thon-065.jpgIf you’re a resident of the tri-state area and are making your weekend plans, then get ready to join Capri Sun & Terracycle for a day of education and fun in support of Westchester’s First Children’s Museum this Sunday, June 13, 2010 from 9:00 A.M. – 2:00P.M.
Win Tickets to this fun filled event on Sunday, June 13!
We’re giving away one free media pass to one family!
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Here are all the details for this great event!
Capri Sun and Terracycle are teaming up to support the establishment of the first regional Children’s Museum in Westchester. The fun-filled day of educational activities will include a Capri Sun and Terracycle table, where kids can learn about upcycling by creating unique Capri Sun change purses made with recyclable pouches. While working on their projects, kids can cool off with Capri Sun 100% Juice or a Roarin’ Waters pouch.
The Explore-a-thon is the Museum’s signature educational and recreational event for families, designed to provide a real children’s museum-type experience while raising funds to construct the walls of the region’s first children’s museum to be built at Rye Playland.
EVENT OVERVIEW
Explore-a-thon is an interactive and magical day of play, experimentation, and discovery for children and families. Following an interactive route that traverses Rye Town Park and the Playland boardwalk just steps from construction site of the future Museum, children and families will discover and enjoy hands-on “Exploration Stations” modeled after future museum exhibits.
Each family will receive one t-shirt, refreshments, entertainment, and exciting give-a-ways with admission. All proceeds benefit the campaign for the Westchester Children’s Museum, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
• $75 Suggested donation for a FamilyPass. Donate here.
• $100 Sponsor a child from an underserved community to attend the event. Donate here. To register for the event, visit the Westchester Children’s Museum today!

Great Quinoa Recipe by Take Back the Kitchen

P1030713.JPGAre you tired of being the person who always brings the paper products to a BBQ? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a specialty like all the ladies way back when who were known for their strawberryJell-O mold or their apple crumble? Well, now you can be that throwback party goer but with a healthier and more delicious dish. This quinoa and dish is easy to make and packed with protein. Give it a try!
Quinoa with Almonds and Dried Cherries:
6 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (about 3 cups raw -cook one cup quinoa to two cups water until tender)
6-8 thinly sliced scallions, white and green part
2-3 tsp salt
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped dried cherries (or craisins if need be)
1 TBS orange zest from 1-2 oranges
ground pepper
In a large bowl,combine all the ingredients for the salad
Dressing:
2/3 cup Orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
(you will only use about 1/2-3/4 of this dressing so use the rest for another time
whisk together until completely emulsified
Pour dressing, not all of it, over the salad, stir until all quinoa is coated with dressing and adjust salt and pepper. Enjoy!
For more great recipe tips from Alma Schneider, visit her at her blog, Take Back the Kitchen.