Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 It feels so good to be home!
The garden flourished for the most part despite our lack of rain.  I've come to the conclusion however, I will only grow things that I love and that I have success with.  
I fail every year with squash and corn.  
Every year, my squash grow beautifully, I harvest some zucchini and then they succumb to those nasty squash borer beetles...every.stinkin.year.
I have never been successful growing corn either.  
It seems a no brainer as we pass by corn fields by the dozen on the way home.  But for some reason, my heirloom corn varieties never take in my garden.
So, I've resolved to stick with flowers, herbs, tomatoes and peppers.
  I have been overjoyed at walking out to my zinnia patch and sunflowers this year.  I even had a large bunch of lavender to harvest.  That makes me so happy!  Why not grow what makes me happy?
Fortunately, we are not in times where we must grow all of our food.  Then, I would have to really buckle down and figure all of this out...but for now, I'll enjoy *my* harvest and purchase the remainder at the farmers market.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

 Our Last Day.

The last days of vacation are always full of mixed feelings.  While we love to get away and just spend time together without the interruptions of everyday life, by the end, we are all excited to head home.  We love our little homestead!  We missed our warm, comfy home, our animals and garden.

We were beached out by the last day.  We decided to spend the day at the pool, but then head to the beach in the evening for some kite flying.  Unfortunately, it rained that evening and we weren't able to go back, but we still had fun.

 Ocean Bingo
Joseph had never played bingo before.  He's hooked now!

Our kids in their homemade tie dye t-shirts (an annual tradition)

Bye Bye beach!
See you next year!

Friday, August 7, 2015

 Next Day.

The morning was filled with lots and lots of thunderstorms.
 We were so hopeful they would blow over.

In the early afternoon, the skies cleared up.

We hit the beach for the day.
The waves were crazy today so, the kids stayed out of the water.
  Even the big boys only swam for a bit.
 This is not the gulf coast I am used to with calm waters, I'm not sure if it's just a freak week or something, but these waters have not been calm at all.  
But, we still had lots of fun!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

 Day...I have no idea, it's vacation and I've lost track of my days...

Today, the weather was a bit iffy.  The wind was really wild on the beach and the surf was up.  We could tell storms were brewing, so we ventured out to the beach before they came in.

My favorite view of the day.

Joseph loved all the wind and waves!

The fish were going crazy right by the shore, so naturally, the boys were itching for some fishing.
They couldn't get those rods set up fast enough.
The fish were biting like mad and they all had such a great time!

Matthew caught one immediately.

Joseph's turn.
I'm not sure who is having more fun, Darryl or little Joe!

Caught one!

 Poor Nini kept losing his shrimp before he actually landed any fish.  It just wasn't his day for fishing.

After playing for a bit, the clouds were picking up and you could see the rain was minutes away, so we packed up and headed back to the cottage for some swimming at the pool.
The kids had a blast!
It was so wonderful to have them all playing and laughing together.  
Nicholas and Matthew wanted to teach the little ones how to swim.
  It warmed this mama's heart.


We finished out the evening with some yummy burgers and of course, ice cream!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

 Day Three

The children have all been playing so hard on this trip, all of them had slept in a bit.  It has given Darryl and I some lovely time together in the mornings.  Before it gets hot, we sit on the covered porch, fresh coffee in hand, discussing our dreams for the future.  

 This day, we decided after breakfast to take a break from the beach and head out to explore the local towns along the beach.

First, some paddy cake...

We were staying in a new area to us in the Florida Panhandle.
  It's comprised of many beaches, each with a unique flavor.  This area is relatively newly developed, but some towns looked as if they had been here for many years.
One such town is called Rosemary Beach.
  Just steps from the sand land you in a village that looks straight out of Europe.  
The village intertwines down brick roads that lead to beautiful European inspired cottages and buildings.  Gas lanterns, french apothecaries, coffee shops, etc. line the streets, while people walk around either dressed in designer fashions, shopping or walking to a restaurant or people in bathing suits holding boogie boards heading to the beach.
  It really is a very unique place!

It was quite hot and while some people were sitting outside sipping cappuccinos, we needed to escape into some air conditioning.
  A bookstore! 
 Be still my heart!
We settled in for a good while and read some good books.

See what I mean?  
You can see the beach from almost all of these buildings.
What's even more astounding?
This town wasn't even here until 1995!
It's all so new, yet looks so old!

 I can't believe he is almost as tall as me!

Later in the day, we drove into Alys Beach.  
This beach borders Rosemary Beach and is equally unique in it's style and architecture.
Beautiful palm trees line the streets of Bermuda style stucco homes.
The streets are lined with multi-million dollar homes all white with black accents. 
Again, living in Florida almost my entire life, I have never seen anything like these beach towns!

They were showing a movie in the square, but we were interested in the lighted splash fountain.
The kids all loved playing in this!

After all that fun, we headed back to the cottage for dinner.
I had prepared a chicken in the crockpot and we enjoyed it with some red potato salad and cut up cantelope.  
Again, we are all so tired and fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.

 Cozy after a day of fun!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Day Two

The big boys had overdone it with the sun on day one (why, oh why do they not listen to their mama?), so they spent a good portion of the day napping and chillin' under the canopy enjoying the beautiful ocean and eating snacks.  
We spent the entire day at the beach today.  Darryl spotted a loggerhead turtle in the water!
The little ones had great fun with the fish daddy caught again for their little fish pool.

In the afternoon, Nicholas awoke from his beach coma (you know, the one you get when you get soothed to sleep by the sounds of the sea and the feeling of the warm ocean breezes), so we set out to have a boogie board competition.  He's a bit fearful to head to far out with all these shark bite news stories so he kept trying to get me to come in closer and would swim after me and pull me in.  He was so worried I would get bitten.  It was quite cute!

 Then, little sweets succumbed to the beach coma and slept awhile, while I took the time to dive into a new book I borrowed from church, Bread and Water, Wine and Oil:  An Orthodox Christian Experience of God by Archimandrite Meletios Webber  This one I needed to read in little bite sized chunks as I don't want to just skim over the content, but really let in sink in.  Such wisdom found  in this book!!  I'm enjoying it immensely.

After getting our fill of the sand, sun and surf, we headed back to the cottage for some dinner.  I had prepared BBQ shredded pork in the crock pot and made some roasted red potatoes.  It was really yummy, we ate the entire thing! 
Our summer nights would not be complete without our favorite ice cream.  Did I profess my love here for Publix ice cream yet?  No?  Should I be embarrassed in stating it's our first stop when we head into Florida?  We stock our freezer with all our favorite flavors.  We all love it and  go crazy over it,  consuming way too much during vacation.   Usually, its because we know it will be a year before we can enjoy their ice cream again, but we know that will not be the case soon.  We are getting a Publix very near to us in Concord, NC.  We are so excited!  So, we have no excuse for our overabundance of ice cream consumption on this trip.
 It's summer, it's vacation, it's all good...