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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Day 2: Partying with Mickey Mouse and Pals at Epcot

DAY 2: EPCOT CENTER

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

This was at that big Epcot ball that is the symbol of the resort. It’s a ride that takes you through the ages of technology.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

I don’t know what it is, but meeting characters is exciting. Even as an adult, I love it! We waited in a 20 min. line just to do this. Ha! And we don’t regret it.

JD was a little disappointed. He had it in his head that he was going to get to “put his stuff on him.” Translation: JD wanted to dress Bay Max in his red armor, but they told him to please not touch anything. Ha!

For most people, Epcot is all about touring the different countries, but for us it was all about 2 things. #1. Hanging out with our friends and #2. Disney characters!!!!

The best way to meet Disney characters is to schedule a meal with them. You can splurge while you’re there, or you can buy a meal plan in advance, and then it feels like these expensive meals are free because you’ve already paid for them. (It’s called the Disney Dining plan, and I am all about it.)

In case you’ve never been to Disney World, let me caution you here that if you want to do a “character meal” at one of the restaurants that have characters walking from table to table, you should make reservations. This is very easy to do. Simply download the *My Disney Experience* app. You can make reservations about 6 months prior all the way up until the day before. I made ours 1 or 2 weeks out, and many time slots were already booked up.

At Epcot, we met Pluto, Mickey Mouse, and Chip and Dale at the Garden Grill. This was the most fun!! Each of these four classic characters were talented entertainers, and they posed with us, played with us, and cracked us up. Characters are not always this awesome.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Pluto took pics and also pretended to drink out of Joshua’s water.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

He gave me a kiss on the head. I felt special.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

JD wasn’t so sure about Pluto, so he settled for a high-five.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Mickey Mouse. He was my favorite. Disney must only let the sweetest “cast members” be Mickey. (He “kissed” me too. It was a happy day.)

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

I can’t remember if this was Chip or Dale. They were both a hoot. Daniel must’ve really thought this place was magic. They danced with him and goofed around. Dan just laughed and laughed. We all did.

Now you know we love us some shenanigans!

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Pluto, getting a sip of Caleb’s drink. (Don’t worry. Not really.)

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Daniel also danced with Pluto. It was so cute.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Daniel hammed it up.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Mickey!

These next pictures tell a heart-warming story. See, JD was a touch scared of the characters. But when he saw Mickey Mouse, and this seemed to be the REAL Mickey, he started to feel brave. JD said, “I want to see him!!”

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

So Mickey gestured to JD for a hug.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

And JD happily accepted.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

So Mickey suggested that I take a photo of him with JD.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

And so we did.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

It rained everyday, but that was a BLESSING. This kept the temperatures down to a manageable level.

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2 tough dudes, ready to get wet

 

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I think I’d like to be Daniel. What a fun life he has.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

JD’s favorite exhibit

Our other favorite thing about Epcot was all the Nemo stuff. Or at least, it was certainly JD’s favorite. While we were waiting our turn for “Turtle Talk with Crush,” he wanted his picture made in this shark mouth so badly that we waited in a slow line behind it, and then we had to drag him out of the thing after the photo was made.

After all the shows, Lightning McQueen, character meetings, swimming, and all that were finished, and we were driving back home, I asked JD, “JD, what was your favorite thing we did at Disney World?”

“Fish. Seeing fish tanks.”

Ha! Well, we could’ve done that at Pet Smart!

Amy said that I should get that poor boy a fish tank.

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We hate to give up good fun to go back to the room for naps, so we just let JD take all of his naps in the stroller. Selfish? Maybe, but he seemed perfectly happy.

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Longest faces of the day. The boys did NOT like the ride “Soarin.'” It’s probably the best ride at Epcot, but our crew thought it felt a little too much like flying into a mountain. (It’s a simulator, and the special effects are good! Too good, if you don’t like heights, I guess.)

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I wanted to meet Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. I thoroughly enjoyed that movie, but their line was always 40 minutes long, and very few things in life are worth that. This was as close as I got.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

We loved it when our bus rides back to our room were practically empty.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot IMG_3246 IMG_3248

And that’s all, folks! After Epcot, we had dinner with our friends at the Grand Floridian, which was beautiful. The boys LOVED the water slide at their pool, but my camera was dead, so I have no photos of that evening. It sure was fun, though.

What are you all doing for fun this summer? How much longer before your kiddos go back? We are only a week out now. I can’t believe it!

 

Currently #35!! Thank you so much!

 

Like reading about Disney World? Read more here:

Disney Day 1: Deep Thoughts from the Magic Kingdom 2016

Animal Kingdom with Toddlers

Disney World 2009 with 2 Toddlers

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom with Toddlers

 

Day 2, January 2009

Animal Kingdom was the most important park of all to Joshua, who was still in his obsessed-with-animals phase.

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We loved the Disney parades.

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Total bliss for Joshua!

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sharing his popcorn with the ducks: No, I do not know if it’s safe for ducks.

Our trip was a lot about the ducks and the water. You just can’t pick your kids’ interests. Some boys are fascinated with trains or tractors. Joshua LOVES animals and the water. We think he may be a Navy captain one day.

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sweetly sharing popcorn bros

Day 2: The Animal Kingdom

The Animal kingdom was obviously highly anticipated by Joshua. This boy was so excited he RAN from the bus to the park entrance, and all day he said, “I want to see animals. Where’s the elephants? How about some lions?” He was so HAPPY. (and so COLD. This was the coldest day. We started out a little later to miss the 20 degree weather, but it was still literally freezing.)

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Alan and 1-year-old Caleb

The first thing we did was stroll through some trails so Joshua could check out all the water and the birds. This was his first time to see flamingos. Then we went on a safari ride. It actually wasn’t quite as good as the one we went on with Nonna at Pine Mountain. But we still enjoyed it. Caleb was so cold he wasn’t even moving that day. ( I know. So sad!) He fell asleep on the safari. I think it was Joshua’s favorite thing of the day.

We had lunch at Tusker House, which has a very African flair. Then (on my insistence b/c I was tired of being cold and worried about Caleb!) we went to see the Lion King show. It was great, and the boys loved it! Joshua’s been making wart-hog noises ever since, and that’s a pretty annoying sound.

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The Lion King show was a life-saver: entertaining and indoors!!

Then we took a zoo-like walk where the tigers and birds are. We tried to take in an outdoor bird show, but Caleb was having none of that. And I don’t blame him. Too cold. In the afternoon we got the boys popcorn and watched the parade. Then we went to the room for a few moments of rest and headed back to The Magic Kingdom for supper with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet.

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Joshua

That was our only restaurant experience that ended with me heading out early while Alan picked up the tab b/c the boys were just too exhausted. But we did leave at exactly the right time to sit in the warmth of the bus to watch the fireworks! The boys loved that. Oh! And did I mention Joshua made it through all 5 days without using his pull-up once!!! So proud!! Of course there was a bush watering incident, but that’ll make a funny story one day!

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I’m pretty sure that’s the only night that we stayed late enough to see fireworks. This was me in front of the lit-up castle.

 

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The first night the boys were having a party in the room. The other nights they passed out the second their heads hit the pillow. Caleb actually slept in a playpen. We stayed at one of the value resorts, can’t remember which one, and were fully satisfied. However, the rooms are so small, we upgraded to TWO adjoining hotel rooms, and that was back when we were only a family of four. But that worked out splendidly. We even had two bathrooms that way!hotelparty

 

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