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!


“No, really I’m from here!” One perfect trip South

flying to Alabama

I’m so happy to tell you that our flight was a smashing success. That photo is JD, our veteran flyer, taking his very first turn on a tablet. It kept him occupied for all of like ten minutes.

Yes, he insisted on riding the airplane barefoot. He is a boy after my own heart. I will never fully understand you shoe people. 😉 But that’s okay. You can wear your shoes, and we can wiggle our toes freely, and we can all get along just fine.

The boys are now at Alan’s parents’ house. Thank you Nonna and DaddyO! They are playing hard, swimming in Nonna’s great big kiddie pool, watching movies, and having a great summer.

I did leave them each a worksheet to do. One a day. I feel like if they can just do a few math problems and read each WEEKday, my job won’t be too hard when we start school back in the fall. There was a bit of carrying on and agony about this the first couple of days, but they have now accepted it and moved on.

Meanwhile, I’m at the beach with my mom!

Destin, Florida

I’ve been to beaches all over America and the Caribbean, and this one is still my favorite. I love everything about it, and this weekend has been especially perfect.

It felt like God was smiling down on us.

other people’s kids playing in the waves

We’ve had it so good. Mom and I played in these waves for an hour today and an hour yesterday. We swam in the swimming pool. We took walks. We shopped at the outlet mall. We even went thrift store shopping. It has been a ball!

I keep hearing kids yell, “Mom!!” on the beach, and I always instinctively turn around, but what do you know. They aren’t calling for me. I have no responsibilities whatsoever!

It’s so fun, but of course, I miss the boys, and I can’t wait to bring them with me next time.

LOVE this place!

Me, all slicked up in sunscreen and ready to go!

Mom pointed out this note card on the wall of the condo. We’ve been frequenting this condo forever, but we haven’t gotten to come since 2012. We found this notice, complete with a note from Alan at the bottom of it, from our stay in 2012.

It’s something any parent could understand.

FYI: A small pack of replacement slats can be purchased at Lowe’s for $1 each.

Apparently, we had to buy a few replacement slats that year. That FYI at the bottom is obviously Alan’s handwriting. I wonder if we will have to replace any slats this year. Come on, boys, let’s see how slick you can be, and look out the window without messing up the blinds! I really got a chuckle out of this problem that we apparently dealt with 3 years ago.

And yet, I have almost no memory of that problem whatsoever.

This has been such a refreshing time, just having fun in Destin with my mom. I’m just tickled pink and thankful! Mom needed a vacation just as badly as I did.

By the way, I will always feel like I am truly a Southerner, no matter where I live. But Alan and I can’t seem to convince Southerners that don’t know us of that.

We were on the airplane, and we had a conversation that went like this:

Alabama man on the plane, talking to Alan: Why would you go to Florida, if you live in California?

Alan: Well, we have family here, and …

Me: Oh! Well, Destin is hot!

Lady behind me: Oh, but with the breeze, it’s nice.

(Oops. That’s not what I meant.)

Me: Well, I mean, we’ve been freezing our butts off in California, so we’re looking forward to the hot.


Fast forward to Cracker Barrel. Alan and I ate there on Saturday. While we were there, we purchased a painting that I liked and had it shipped to our house, so we had to give them our address, which made them think we were from California. We tried to explain.

“We’re not really from California, but we live there now.”

We paid and went on our way, and as I was walking away, I heard the cashier tell another worker, “They’re from California. They’re real sweet, though.”

I didn’t turn around and say anything. I’m surprisingly good at biting my tongue.

So here’s what I wanted to say, because I’m not even good at thinking of things to say later. Most people can at least think of what to say later:

“No, really, we’re one of you!! We are so Alabama!”

Or something like that. Not that there’s anything wrong with being from California because California is lovely. It’s just that we’re not, but we are living there, so….. we really do live a confusing life with all this moving!

But Destin is really where it’s at. We love this place.

I am in such an ideal phase right now. I’ve had a relaxing and fun vacation with my mom. That train wreck of a first year of home schooling is nothing but history. We aren’t giving birth OR moving this year, and these calm waters of summer sure feel like Heaven itself.

4I I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!  Psalm 34:4-8