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.


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!


42 Beautiful Photos of Monterey, California

Janet took these beautiful photos of Monterey for us. These include the aquarium, the beach, a hotel, a farmer’s market (where we met some parrots), and Cannery Row.


JD contentedly held the parrot, until the bird owner said, “Show your mom. Where’s mom?”…..


…..Then JD looked up and realized I was gone. You can see the panic on his little face! I had slipped off to the car to get something.

Monterey photos

The Del Monte Hotel rose garden


A Joshua tree! These are not native to the area, but we were excited to see one since we do have a son named Joshua.


The hurricane-like winds made the family photo a lost cause.


It may look inviting, but the water is like 40 degrees, in my estimation, and quite full of sea life.


I love that Joshua is old enough now to read all the information at the aquarium and help his brothers too.


The itty bitty penguin habitat is Daniel’s favorite.




Leopard sharks, a native to Monterey Bay


Way back in the day, the sardine fishing and canning industry were big business in Monterey. So that’s why they call this street Cannery Row. There is no Canning going on here now, just tourism, shopping, and eating.

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Check back tomorrow! I’m planning to upload photos of 17 mile drive, a scenic route that hugs the coast from Pacific Grove to Carmel! Or maybe I’ll do the seal pup photos next…



“I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow..”




Today I took all the boys to the beach, by myself. Yes, it was a bona fide foolish thing to do. I might not try it again any time soon. It’s been warm here, and I just really wanted to go to the beach! The boys very excitedly dressed in their swimming trunks and packed in the van. We’ve never gotten ready to go somewhere so quickly!

Do you have a soundtrack to your life? I am one of those people who burst into RANDOM songs, ALL the time. If I’m not singing, I’m not happy. I sing, and I sing, and I sing. My head is like the “shuffle” option. It just pops up different songs all the time. Sometimes it’s because the song fits the day, and that was the case today.

There’s a new song out that just FELT like TODAY. To understand the title of my post and the vibe of our day out at the beach, you should hear this song:

Isn’t it great? So peppy! Plus, it really is a beautiful day to be alive.

Only, one small problem. I have a toddler.



He ties with his brother Joshua for being the most stubborn person I’ve ever met. 🙂 But at least his fits are silent. That’s right. That picture is one of JD’s famous “silent fits.” He was mad at me because I wouldn’t let him chase the birds anymore.

So let me tell you about our day.

First, we went to our favorite beach. It always has this great big tidal pool/drainage ditch that you have to cross, but usually there’s a bridge, and we just deal with it.

Today the wooden board that we call a bridge was gone, and the great big tidal pool was almost a river that went all the way to the ocean. It was massive. I would have taken a photo, but I was too busy trying to keep JD out of that nasty water. Alan says it’s nasty sewage drainage water. 🙁  He is a civil engineer, so I figure he knows a thing or two about it.

We had to hike a half mile around the thing to get to the ocean. That may not sound far, but when you are escorting a person that is two feet tall, insists on walking himself, all while lugging four beach towels in your shoulder bag, let me tell you, it’s far.

The big boys waited very sweetly for the slow team (JD and me) to catch up. They love jumping in the waves, and thankfully none of them get in too far.



Look closely. That’s Dan, not JD, looking for more ladybugs.

beachday jdbeach ocean holdon aprilbeach all4

JD has this fascination with chasing birds. Do all little boys do this? I think ALL of mine have. When I decided to do the beach thing by myself, I thought it would be okay because last time JD just sat and dug around in the sand and complained a little bit. No biggie.

This time JD kept taking off after birds. Now that wouldn’t be so bad, but I have three other boys to keep an eye on. I had to keep making Daniel come with me to get JD.


In this video, you can see the boys running, but you can’t tell how big this drainage pond is. It was much longer than it was wide!

Finally, Dan just banked himself in the sand and started building ladybug houses. Caleb soon joined him.

We found lots of ladybugs in the sand today, and we all thought that was really neat.



building ladybug houses


This is the best I can do for an all four boys pic.

Once JD accepted that I was finished chasing birds, he threw his silent fit, and then he spent a while watching a ladybug. Joshua started asking to go home, so he took a vote. We said, “JD, do you want to go home?”

JD smiled, “Yes!!”

Hoping to avoid the long trek around the nasty water pool, I spotted what I thought would be a short cut around the other way. Let’s just say it didn’t end where I thought it would, and we ended up walking on asphalt in our bare feet. Thankfully, the boys are so used to California briars in their bare feet in our backyard that I was the only one complaining. JD was happy to be carried all the way back to the car, which didn’t end up being a shortcut at all. It was another long hike. I was so grateful that Joshua could carry the beach bag for me!

It was not the peaceful day at the beach that I had pictured. It was a stressful hour at the beach. One hour. That’s how long we lasted. I mean, of course it wasn’t relaxing. Ha! What was I thinking? But I was singing, “It’s good to be alive,” the whole time because you know what? It is!





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