Day 3 in Playa Del Carmen and we are nearing the end of our vacation. We had only 2 more days before we had to go back home to San Diego so we decided to make the most of our time and take the ferry to Isla Mujeres. I was concerned at first because the weather wasn’t good and I had convinced everyone to make the trip out – but luckily everyone had fun. We explored the beach, wined and dined, celebrated two birthdays in one afternoon and got a little rowdy on the way back. At the end of our Isla Mujeres day trip everyone got back to their hotel rooms, tired, tipsy and very happy.

For our first two days at Playa Del Carmen check out the entries here.

Here’s footage from day 2 of our trip to Playa Del Carmen, where we visit Tulum and go swimming with turtles. We start off by spending some time at the enclosed beach in the Hard Rock Hotel where we were staying. The beach was shielded by nets and offered a safe space for snorkeling. Erika and our other guests then tried their hand at crossing the water via a flimsy rope bridge. I was convinced it would be a disaster but they all somehow made it. The kids were bugging us to go to the nearby waterpark, so we relented and left the beach area for the waterpark. The kids had a blast going on the water slides.

It was nearing lunch time to we decided to check out some of the restaurants at the Hard Rock. We then took a shuttle service to the nearby resort town of Tulum where we explored some ruins and a park – it was much bigger than I anticipated! We then visited a local monkey sanctuary and then went on a brief ocean excursion where we swam with the turtles – we actually saw some turtles in the wild which I was not expecting. We ended the day as we started it, back at the Hard Rock Hotel.

Missed Day 1 of our trip to Playa Del Carmen? Check it out here.

We start our day at the man-made lagoon in Playa Del Carmen which is an artificial reef you can swim and snorkel in. It even has a zip-line for those looking for something more adventurous. After some time lazing around the lagoon, we headed off to see Chichen Itza. It was raining pretty heavily by the time we got there but that didn’t stop us from having a great time exploring those ancient Mayan pyramids. After Chichen Itza we took the tour bus to one of the many cenotes near Playa Del Carmen. A cenote is a sinkhole in the ground that becomes filled with groundwater – basically a massive, naturally occurring swimming pool. I think the kids loved the cenote more than the lagoon. We swam around for a bit and then went back to town and got some photos in front of the picturesque local architecture before it got dark.

Erika was out of town on business so I took Ethan and Aiden with me to the construction site of our new home. As the kids run around, I offer some useful tips that anyone buying or building a new home can use. First and foremost: take pictures of everything! Especially before they pour the concrete for the foundation. Pay special attention to the plumbing areas and electrical outlets. For someone like me who absolutely needs to have a sink in the garage, it is vital I know where the plumbing spots are where I can attach a sink or even a washer/dryer. It’s true that the builders will do it for you – but at a steep price. If you know where all the plumbing and electric outlets are you can do the same job yourself with a contractor you trust for significantly less money.

A framer once told me to pay attention to the walls before they put the drywall up and advised me to go to every room and take photos of every wall in each room. This will be useful when you want to do miscellaneous projects around the house in the future – your contractor will appreciate it and knowing where all the beams and joists are will cut down on construction time and save you money in the long run. You can print out the photos and keep it in a binder for future use or keep it online in a folder. Just make sure to label them properly.

For more Tips For Building a New Home check out the other DIY posts in our blog.

Here’s a quick review of the Legendary Sonic RC Truck. The entire Legendary RC Truck line is very impressive, in my opinion, and this is the third one we’ve bought. As you can see in the video Ethan and Aiden put it through its paces and the truck takes everything they throw at it and more! This model features a solid build quality and easily replaceable/interchangeable parts – which means that even if something does go wrong it can be easily repaired.

For more information on this truck check out the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/shop/alexerika

We took a Puerto Vallarta vacation for the new year! This place is special for us, and we have been here a few times before with friends and family. We went on a day excursion at Puerto Vallarta where we went kayaking and we also explored a private beach area with the kids.

We also played some beach volleyball, Erika convinced everyone to buy matching jackets (which they’ll never wear again) and the kids pester me to go to the pool, and I get a little wistful thinking about the end of our Puerto Vallarta Vacation. Great times!

As I explain in this video, this is my personal experience building a swimming pool as an owner builder. I think the vast majority of people should use a pool contractor when they decide to build a swimming pool. We spoke with several pool contractors in our area here in Southern California and all of them were months out from being able to start the project and some were not even considering taking on new projects. 

Be sure to watch both videos, part 1 and part 2 to see all the entire project from start to finish. If you have any questions please leave them as a comment on YouTube. I will do my best to answer these questions. 

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We moved into the new house and I was going to start a number of DIY projects around the house including a set of Custom DIY BUNK BEDS. However, soon after moving in we found out Erika was pregnant, and she gave me an ultimatum to get all my projects done before the baby arrives – so I had to hop to it! In this video I install a custom DIY BUNK BEDS for the kids’ room with help from my friend David. I sent a designer friend of mine the dimensions of the room and he came up with an amazing design for the bunk beds and loft area that both Erika and I loved.

The project took around 90 hours spread across a couple weeks, a little longer than I expected – but it was well worth the effort after seeing how much the kids love these bunk beds.

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This is a 2021 update on how to use CBX, or the so-called Cross Border Express. Personally, I have used it and my family for 30 times already because it is great and efficient – HOWEVER experiences may vary during peak tourist season. I made a video about it when it first opened to the public a few years ago and I highlighted in that video some tips on how to get through it at that time. Here’s an update to that video.

Spoiler alert: Do everything as much as you can online before leaving to save time. Also, this old-fashioned method also works great for residents of San Diego: park your car in Otay Mesa, hire a taxi to take you to the border and cross the border on foot with your Global Entry Card – it’s faster than CBX on a busy day.

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In this video I share an effective way to hang Christmas lights around the house. This is great for people like me who don’t want to climb up and down the ladder to install and remove Christmas lights every year. I highlight the different placement options depending on the style and roofline of your house. Because we are in Southern California and have stucco around the roof, I used a system of bicycle hooks and pipes to easily mount and remove the Christmas lights. I also highlight the different ways you can hang Christmas lights if you have, say, wood paneling.