Staycation Time

Spring Break is next week here in Panama City. Usually we are off on an adventure during Spring Break, but this year we have company so we are doing a staycation while my friend gets to experience a new adventure.

I think one of the best things about having someone visit us is being able to show them all the cool spots and beaches like a tour guide. I get to relive the excitement all over again.

Three days packed with different beach spots, restaurants and of course shopping. I love a good adventure, but I also love sleeping in my own bed. I get the best of both this next week.

Anyone else enjoying a little Staycation this Spring Break?IMG_1066

Giving Back

I have always been close to my family. My parents instilled in us the importance of family and having a relationship with my grandparents. I was able to spend the week of Thanksgiving in my Colorado with my grandparents.

While I loved spending the week with them, it was an eye-opening experience. I spent the week taking care of two old people. Cooking for them, running errands and helping my grandma when she shook so bad her pills would dump on the floor. Family is important. I got to give back to two people who always had my back growing up. 

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for them. Their first home cooked holiday meal in about 4 years. It broke me heart to leave them. 

On a positive note; Colorado is gorgeous. Here’s a few pics of my trip. 

The Mountains Are Calling

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I am a mountain girl at the very core of my being. While I do claim land mermaid status, my soul longs for the mountains. Seeing the mountains out of my parent’s mini van windshield meant we were almost to my grandmother’s house. As I had gotten older, and we had moved to Wyoming, seeing the mountains was an every day occurrence. We traveled those Rocky Mountain ranges every year, at least twice a year to see my grandparents. My life has always been in the mountains. My soul is happy in the valley of those towering, snow-capped ranges.

The mountains are calling, and I must go.

In two weeks my feet will touch Colorado soil after close to 5 years. Far too long. I will get to spend a brief, but wonderful week of Thanksgiving with my grandparents, in the valley of the San Juan Mountains. My soul will find it’s rest. It is weary.

There are never enough words to express my love for the mountains. The crisp breeze of fall, the rustling of the leaves as they flitter off the Aspen trees. The snowy hills and the creatures that roam free and quiet in the stillness. There is a quiet unlike any other, one that refreshes and restores.

I belong in the mountains. It is calling me home. 2 weeks to go. My heart is about to burst at the thought. Adventure awaits. Take me home.

 

 

Fall in the South

It seems like it has been forever since we have been camping anywhere. And even longer since I have put any travel anything on this blog. So I am going to combine two wonderful trips into one post! Our first trip was in September and we went to Ichetucknee Springs State Park near Lake City, FL and a few weeks ago we went to Cape San Blas State Park in Cape San Blas, FL.


Ichetucknee Springs was a wonderful weekend full of floating lazily down a very cold, clear spring then swimming in the crystal clear waters of one their natural springs. Let me tell you, they are cold! 72 degree temperature, but hey when it’s hot and humid, those are amazing. We rented tubes and floated down the river for a few hours. It was the most relaxing trip. Well, besides one of the boys losing his flip flops because he didn’t listen when told to put on boat shoes, or when the other boy nearly tipped me off my float because he had to pee….yes that is life with boys.

Our other camping trip was to Cape San Blas State Park. We spent a three day weekend just laying on the beach, enjoying the waves, the sun, and the ability to walk to back to camper anytime we wanted. My boys were in heaven because they got to fish all day long. And they did. It was marvelous.

We didn’t do much. I sat in a beach chair and read Harry Potter. I watched my boys knee deep in the water fishing. I watched my daughter and my four year old niece play in the sand. I watched my Mom and Dad enjoy being able to relax. I watched the sunset and my loves sitting by the fire roasting marshmallows.

It was a weekend I needed in the midst of the chaos of school, work, and raising kids. It was good to get away, even for a short while.

 

Banishing the Winter Blues

Adventure

The month of January is usually a hard month for me. While it’s gives me the opportunity to start a new year fresh, there is still residual insecurities from the year that has past. The colder weather and cloudy days certainly don’t help any. Even here in Northern Florida, we have cold mornings and lots of rain. With that being said, as I begin to shake off what was and let go of the expectations that did not come through, I plan for this year. New adventures, new trips, new relationships. Not really a new me, I am pretty content with what and who I am at the moment, but perhaps working towards a slightly better me.

Each year I am lucky enough to take my three kids on a trip. One year was to Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL and that fall a cruise to the Grand Cayman’s and Cozumel. The next year was to Universal Studios and mini weekend vacations. This year holds some big adventures.

First, my youngest daughter has hit double digits. It’s a big deal in our house. And my oldest is hitting the teenage years this summer. Another really big deal. But, the biggest adventure we have planned, and this is HUGE for us, is our very first trip to Disney World. While I know this is not a big deal to a lot of people, but for this single mom struggling to make it each month, this is GIGANTIC! Spring Break is going to be great adventure.

While personal things are also making life a little more of an adventure, I am ecstatic to give my kids this opportunity. Adventure is out there. Stop waiting for the next best thing, and make your life the best that there is. Start small with little weekend getaways. Save every last penny in a jar designed for your trips. Make a plan and stick to it. Research and look for ways to explore your destination without costing you a fortune.

It is possible to have amazing vacations without breaking the bank. Some of our favorite trips where little camping trips we took. Even a few nights away from the daily grind can refresh your soul. Take some “you” time. If you have the ability to travel, why aren’t you? What is holding you back?

Throw your hands up in the air, and let adventure take control. Shake off the winter blues, get that calendar out, and start planning!

Grayton Beach, FL

Fall days in Florida are typically spent at the beach. Our Saturday was spent at one of America’s most beautiful beach, Grayton Beach State Park, FL. 

  
Sand dunes cover most of the state park, providing a barrier to the beach. Hidden in the dunes are birds and other creatures who call this place home.  

   
We started our trek along a one mile walking path that took us through Sand oaks, magnolia trees and pines. 

   
    
    
   
It was a gorgeous day once we hit the beach. The breeze had stopped and red tide hadn’t touched this portion of sugar sand.

Beach goers were sunbathing or walking along the crystal waters. The few brave ones ventured out into the cool waters to play along the waves or  walk the sand bar.

 

   
The afternoon was spent at Western Lake, kayaking in the brakish water. For kids never been on kayaks, they did a great job.

  

   
And we learned not to molest any alligators.

   
 
We finished our fall day with a perfect fall evening activity. 

 
A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Fall Festival Fun

I love fall. I love the crisp, cool weather, fall festivals, and pumpkin patches. We headed out to Milton, FL for a camping trip this weekend and had a great time at Holland Farms Pumpkin Patch.

One of my favorite things about Farmer’s Markets and little general stores is the ability to get homegrown veggies, fruits, honey, and in our area; peanuts. This beautiful jar of honey was my favorite purchase, fresh honey and honeycomb!

As a kid my grandparents had bee hives, and I loved being able to have the honey comb after my grandma got the honey. I am excited to pass that experience on to my kids. 

This was such a neat little farm. Sunflowers in rows, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, watermelon plants, and fresh peanuts.

A southern staple is Boiled Peanuts. While I am not a fan, my kids and parents are. So one of these little beauties came home with us to be boiled.

There’s nothing better than homegrown, fresh from the farm produce. This gorgeous watermelon will soon be cut up and devoured!  

Rows of pumpkins ripe for the picking! We had fun scouring for the perfect pumpkin to carve! The kids carefully inspected each one to find the one for their Jack-O-Lanterns.

The corn maze was a blast as well. Not quite like the corn from Nebraska, but still we had fun trying to maneuver our way through the maze, searching for clues to the Maze Murder Mystery.

Our spoils from the patch!

There is something special about hitting a local farm, supporting local growers, and sharing that experience with your friends and family. So get out there and support your farmers! They are what keeps this country going!

Underground Treasures

Last summer we took a little road trip up to Marianna, Florida and visited the Florida Caverns State Park and Blue Springs. It was amazing to see what was hidden underneath our feet. The formations and the explorations were breathtaking. One particular formation was called the Wedding Cathedral, and there had once been a wedding there in that very part of the cavern. Bats fluttered above our heads and the air was damp, and the kids had a blast exploring and learning all about the caves 

    
    
 As we exited the caves, we had an amazing walk through the forest of the state park, admiring the cypress trees and creeks. Thankfully the weather wasn’t too terribly hot and humid, as it is known to be in August, and we enjoyed finding other little caves along the forest path. We even ventured into a dark tunnel!

   
 To wrap our exciting weekend we headed to the Blue Springs. With its cold water (70 degrees is pretty cold when you are swimming) it is a popular summer spot. There are caves hidden under the diving board, and fish swim in the crystal clear waters. It is a beautiful natural spring that not only makes a great swimming hole, but leads into a stream that

you can rent canoes and paddle boats by the hour to explore.Springs Cave Springs

Our evening was spent fishing and enjoying the peace and quiet before heading back to real life.

   One of the things I love about this state is abundant adventures we have been able to have. And I can’t wait to have many more!