The Thrifty and Sunburn Free Trip to Miramar Beach

The Thrifty, Sunburn-Free Trip to Miramar Beach Florida Destin area

 

Alan and I are always dreaming up fun things to do together as a family, and our efforts are often met with …….resistence.

One of these fellas actually lamented, “I don’t want to go to the beach. I just want to stay home and hang out at the house.”

Sigh. Well, perhaps we were hasty in taking a beach trip the very second that school let out, but that’s life. Children are still at the mercy of the parents’ summer schedules. We are at the mercy of their’s the rest of the year.

When I was a child, I would have never said, “I don’t want to go to the beach!” I don’t think I ever did go to the beach until I was around 13 years old, and it was something I was exceedingly grateful for.

That just goes to show that the more accustomed to wonderful things that a person is, the less we appreciate those wonderful things.

John David was not the beach-resistor. He couldn’t wait to go, but once he got there he was soon disenchanted and ready to head to the pool.

Have no fear. The moment the reluctant boy sat foot on the beach, he never complained again. In fact, Alan took all the other boys to the pool after an hour, while I stayed at the beach with Joshua until I began to worry about our sun protection.

Look closely to see a small boy in a yellow shirt, stealing a float from an older brother. He made the snatch, and he fled the scene. Joshua and I sat and laughed.

To be fair, it wasn’t stealing exactly. We share the floats. He decided it was his turn. Caleb, who was using it as a basketball net, but was pausing to fetch his ball, didn’t notice until JD was safely on the opposite side of the pool.

I was extra careful about sunscreen this year, and it paid off. I brought 0 sun-burned people home from the beach. Hallelujah! 5/6 of us are as fair as fair can be. This was an accomplishment.

My strategy was simple.

  1. Try to keep everyone indoors between 11am and 4pm.
  2. Re-apply every 1.5 hours.
  3. Wear a cover-up as much as possible.
  4. I wore a seriously ugly hat, and so did Alan.
  5. Put swim shirts on the kids.

Egypt wasn’t built in a day, so we settled for the Sphinx and a pyramid.

WWII airplanes flew over in honor of Memorial Day.

Our other big objective this year was to spend as little money as possible on the vacation.

I think that’s always been a goal for Alan, but in the past I secretly didn’t care. This year I cared just as much as Alan.

Our strategy for this was also simple.

  1. Our condo was free. Alan’s grandparents let us stay at their place, and that’s why our family has gotten to go to the beach so frequently over the years. (Gigantic thank you to Alan’s grands!!!)
  2. Only eat out once, and that will be a lunch.
  3. Buy enough groceries to have plenty of snacks and easy to assemble meals so that no one will even ask to eat out. Success!
  4. The condo has a pool. The beach is right across the street, so there is no need to pay for any other activities.
  5. Rent a Redbox movie instead of going to the theatre. (Remember, we have to hide from the sun for several hours/day.)

Joshua and Daniel were all about the net fishing. They caught quite a few tiny fish and crabs.

 

Would you like our meal ideas that made this possible? It was so simple it’s almost embarrassing to list them.

Breakfast

cereal, eggs, and Pop-tarts

Since they are normally not allowed Pop-tarts, this is a humongous treat. I was curious if pop-tarts were any better than donuts, so I looked it up……They aren’t better, just different.

By the way: 1 Krispy Kreme glazed donut = 22g carbohydrates and 11g fat

1 Blueberry Pop Tart = 38 g carbohydrates and 5g fat

Cocoa Pebbles cereal =  25g carbohydrates and 1g fat

Eggs                    = 0.6 g carbs and 5 g fat

……Sooooo that’s why we don’t normally do pop-tarts. One of my boys gets crazy hyper from all that sugar. At least with the cereal, they get the protein from the milk to help my conscience. There’s no way I’m COOKING 3 times/day. Breakfast has to be easy.

Eggs are the clear winner, but not all of us can eat the eggs. I have a son with an egg allergy. Sad, right?

This one is allergic to nothing, and he likes his eggs dyed green and served with sausage.

Lunches and Dinners

Micro-wavable hamburgers. We are sort of fanatical about these because they are delicious, they are real, and they are brain dead easy to make quickly.

We also served egg sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, and hot dogs while we there. It was only a 3 night vacation.

Next year maybe we’ll do a no-eating out at all policy because that would have saved us another $90, believe it or not. $90 was how much we spent on the groceries for the whole weekend, and yet that’s what it costs to take our family to a restaurant, other than fast food.

“I don’t want to swim with the seals and the sea lions.” I reassured them the gulf is much too hot for the seals and the sea lions. Swim away. “Are there sharks?” Well…

And by the way, it was a free of incident beach year too! There were no ER visit, no jelly fish stings, no rain days, and no sunburn. Ah, yeah. We fall more in love with Destin every year.

Caleb earned these green sunglasses as a reading prize.

our dare-devil. He will go out as far as you let him.

I’m 1/2 daredevil like Caleb.

I used to swim to the sand bar, and I CANNOT go to the beach without getting drenched from head to toe. It’s not possible. I don’t know how you do it. Moana was right. It DOES call you.

…..but I’m now 1/2 skiddish. I’ve been stung by jellyfish a few times, and y’all, that HURTS. Plus, I see fish and shadows, and I start to panic. Ah, if only I could have stayed young and dumb.

 

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

 I hope your summer is off to swimming start as well! God bless!

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Life After Home School and the Move

 

Life after home school

Tomorrow is Daniel’s very first day of kindergarten. To me he still looks like this:

How can I send this sweet Bama boy to kindergarten??

But, believe it or not, the Dan Man is 5, and he is extremely excited about going to school with his brothers. They will all be at the same school together. I had planned it differently, but at the last minute Daniel was awarded a scholarship, so that worked out beautifully.

It’s hard to even focus on how much is happening. Our heads are still spinning. In June, we trekked across the U.S. of A. In July, we hurriedly unpacked. (So now I need to go back and re-organize everything.) Then we headed off to one vacation after another. We did Disney. We saw friends. We went to Destin. We visited family.

I feel as though all along, our life keeps improving more and more. Happy things keep happening to us, and I’ve been so much in recovery from the dismal beginning of 2016 that it’s taken me awhile for this new thing to set in to my head.

I’m not stressed anymore! Wait. I don’t have to make lesson plans? Nope.

I don’t have to do any teacher training? Nope.

I don’t have to even feed everyone lunch? Nope.

I can be at my parents’ house in two hours? Yep!

The big boys are already in school, and they LIKE it??  Yes!!!

They actually like their new school a LOT!!!

I keep thinking about those Christian song lyrics, “He set my feet upon a rock.” Of course, that is also in the Bible, but it’s so much easier to pop in my head when it’s set to music. In my head that’s me. I was sinking in my misery, and I have been lifted and set upon a rock. Amen. Amen. Amen.

I think we’re on the verge of loving it here. I made my schedule for tomorrow, and it doesn’t sound hard! I didn’t even have to color-code it!! 

Praise the Lord, y’all! I have found relief!!! Now we just need to make a friend or two, and we’ll be all set.

We aren’t off to a great start on the makin’ friends bit. First off, we’ve lived here over a month and we’ve been out of town for most of that.

Secondly, we have a son whose Southern accent impersonation is down right hilarious. I only hope the locals will think so, instead of feeling like they’re being made fun of. I haven’t heard him do it in public though, so we should be good. (Ask Joshua to talk Southern next time you see it. You will laugh!!)

Then there was the doctor’s office incident. Alan took all four boys to the doc on a Saturday by himself. (I was out of town again.) We just needed to get school and sports forms filled out. Moving is such a pain when it comes to health care!!! (That’s another reason our company should let us live places a little longer.)

Well, they were all there for HOURS, but everyone was well behaved, thankfully. But right at the end, the doctors refused to sign the sports forms for ALL the boys! Can you believe that!!??  And it was because of my heart problem! Ugh.  Way to go, Me!

Alan tried to convince them that the boys do not have it, and even I am fine. I could play sports even. (Not well, but I could do it.) He failed to convince Doc #1, so he asked to get a second opinion from one of the other docs there that day.

Doc #2 also denied us. We all have to go to a cardiologist before they will be cleared to play sports. Doctors totally freak out about the v-tach thing, but I’m telling you mine is benign. It’s monomorphic, non-sustained. I’m good.

So today we’re sitting in Sunday School, and Alan whispers, “That doctor that wouldn’t sign the boys’ sports physicals is right over there.” Yep. Doc #1 is in our Sunday School class.

No way.

Yes way.

We chatted with him after class. He didn’t budge any on the issue, but hopefully we are all on good terms. I’m sure he’s a very good doctor. It was just a little embarrassing.

Oh, yeah, that’s us. We’re just making friends all over the place.

life after home school

Won’t you be our friend??

I am seriously, for real, truly going to take a “1st day of Kindergarten” picture for Dan tomorrow. And a “3rd day” pic for J and C! I don’t know why I’ve had so much trouble remembering.

Have your kids/grandkids started back to school yet? Share with me in the comments!

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the T-Rex

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the TRex

“I want to hug Olaf! I want to hug Olaf!”….”No. No. I not hug him. I scared o him.”

We’ve been back from vacation for a few days now. Daniel keeps asking when we’re “ever going back to America.” By America, he is referring to our home in California. It was amusing to listen to Caleb trying to explain to Daniel that we are still in America.

In the short time that we’ve been back from Disney World, 7 of us caught a cold. 6 of us developed a hacking cough. (I have escaped it so far.) 2 of us have projectile vomited. Maybe that’s why Dan is ready to head back to “America”!

I think this was the first time in our 10 years of being parents that we were awakened to the sound and FEEL of projectile vomit at 5:50 am. I’ve never jumped out of bed with so much quickness!! We got him changed, us changed, stripped the bed, cleaned up, and all gathered in the living room to watch Planes, JD’s current favorite movie.

I sat there with my coffee, so thankful for our automatic coffee maker, trying to force myself to wake up.

I was so happy to see Caleb walk into the living room at 6:10. I snuck off to his bedroom and went back to sleep in his bed. (Mine was still wet.)

Daniel does have some happier summer vacation news. He has an exciting new accomplishment to add to his name: underwater swimmer! He can now go under and swim without even pinching his little nose. He mostly taught himself. That’s how Daniel rolls.

We’ve sent summer out with a bang. Here are the photos from Day Three of vacation, which we spent at Hollywood Studios.

It’s taken me so long to blog about our Disney trip, you may think we spent three weeks there. But no, I’m just slow. We were there for four days.

 

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the TRex

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the T-Rex

The almost disaster

This ABC cafe was a huge hit with our boys because they have tv’s everywhere. We couldn’t get a word out of the boys or a question answered the whole time. They were total tv zombies, watching ….a cooking show. Lol!

Ordering food for six people at Disney is confusing. No, ordering food for six people anywhere is hard to keep straight. You know that feeling when you go to the drive-thru window with 6 people in the car? And they all order something different? That is our life, ya’ll!!  Every meal of vacation!!

I thought nothing of picking up these adorable chocolate cupcakes for the boys. I kind of wanted one myself.

So a miracle happened. No, I’m telling you, our almost disaster was a miracle.

Now, normally Joshua eats all of his food and then starts eating everyone else’s. But this time he did NOT. Weird. Feeding Joshua is like feeding a teenager. He’s only 10, but it is. My mom, who fed three teenagers at once, has already confirmed this.

I figured he would surely tear into that cupcake, but he looked at it, a CHOCOLATE cupcake, with CHOCOLATE icing, that looks like Darth Vader even, and said, “No, I don’t want it.”

That was a stop the music moment right there. I was all, “What? But it’s so..look at it. You don’t want it?”

Alan said, “He must be full. Can I have it, Joshua?”

Joshua agreed to let Alan have the cupcake, and Alan took one bite and discovered……peanut butter filling. Pure peanut butter!

Aughhhhhhh!!!!!

Oh my goodness. If that had happened to Joshua, we would have had to use the EpiPen, which we did have, and then Day 3 would have abruptly ended with a ride to the local ER in a nice Disney World ambulance.

Nut allergies are an easy thing to drop your guard about because for the most part, it’s pretty easy to just not eat nuts. We were way more vigilant after this cupcake incident.

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the T-Rex

It was about 95 degrees in the Indiana Jones show.

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the T-Rex

JD made it halfway through the show, but when cars started blowing up and catching fire, JD insisted that we leave. So he and I exited early.

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the T-Rex

We left the park around 3pm, sweaty and tired.

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the T-Rex

Even bus rides are fun and exciting to children. I wish I could get that level of enthusiasm back for myself.

IMG_4768 IMG_4783

 

The T-Rex

That evening, we ate supper at Disney Springs, at the most themed out restaurant I’ve ever seen. Hard Rock Cafe has nothing on this place.

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the T-Rex

T-Rex entry and gift shop

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the T-Rex

Magma, Sea Creatures, an Ice Age in the back, roaring dinosaurs, a giant octopus. This place delivered the atmosphere, and the food was delicious too.

Hollywood Studios, the Almost Disaster, and the T-Rex

JD had only managed a 10 minute nap that day, so by our 6:30 dinner, he was ready to collapse.

That evening, we ate supper at Disney Springs, at the most themed out restaurant I've ever seen. Hard Rock Cafe has nothing on this place.

So he nodded right off to sleep, right on Joshua’s shoulder.

That evening, we ate supper at Disney Springs, at the most themed out restaurant I've ever seen. Hard Rock Cafe has nothing on this place.

He slept until we were all the way back AT our hotel. And then he woke up hungry and with more energy than the rest of us.

IMG_3279 IMG_3282 IMG_3298

Enjoy the rest of summer while you can. It’s almost over! Don’t forget to keep in touch. I’d love to hear about what you’re doing with the rest of your summer.

 

 

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