Thursday, July 24, 2014

North Carolina Family Vacation Day 5--a ray, fun in the sun

Wednesday July 9 we decided to go down to the beach in the morning. So after a breakfast of cereal and apples for the kids and danish for me, we got ready to head down to the beach. There were not that many people down there yet so we got our pick of the spots. We got our things settled and then Bill, Rebecca and Jacob headed out to play in the water, while I tried to get Benjamin to like being on the sand. He got up after a few minutes and decided to go walking. So we walked along the beach for a while, and Benjamin decided to start picking shells up and throwing them. Then he decided to come back to the blanket and play in the sand a bit. Then he decided to go walk again. He tried to take another little boys sand toys and he was very upset that he couldn’t. After a while, Bill came up to switch places with me and he chased Benjamin while I headed down to the water.

While playing in the water with Rebecca and Jacob, I noticed an area that looked murky and deeper than the ankle deep water we were playing in. Then I noticed a couple of larger fish (probably 5-6 inches long) swimming around that area. Just as I turned to tell Rebecca and Jacob to stay away from that area because there was a little drop off, I happened to look down and there was a small ray right by my foot. I must have jumped around 3 feet…. I think that scared me more than the guy catching that shark the first night we were here. I told Rebecca and Jacob that we were not going back in the water for a bit, so we went up to build sandcastles.

We finally did decide to go back toward the water, this time Bill went with the older 2 while I stayed with Benjamin. We decided to give them 10 more minutes before we headed in for lunch. Well that is when Benjamin, who has wanted absolutely nothing to do with the ocean, decided to walk closer and closer to the water. The waves were very gentle and I was able to coax him into the very shallow end and holding his hand was able to get him to at least stand in the water without crying. I would say things like….”Here comes the water…wee!” and then we would walk a little while the waves were out and say “Splish, Splash.” It was the first time Ben seemed to enjoy being down on the beach.

Finally we decided to head in for showers and lunch. While Bill got Benjamin bathed I made lunch for the kiddos….PB& J sandwiches, pineapple, chips and pudding. I had a leftover hot dog, chips and pudding. And Bill had leftover chicken wings. After lunch, Bill decided to take Rebecca and Jacob putt-putting, while Benjamin and I stayed at the condo to relax and do laundry. After they left, I started laundry and Benjamin decided to climb up on the couch to watch cartoons and he fell asleep. I took the opportunity to go sit on the balcony, where I could still see in to see Ben on the couch and read. It was a nice afternoon.

Bill and the kids returned and said they had a blast. Rebecca and Jacob both got holes in one and after Bill took the kids to Dairy Queen for a treat. Soon it was time to think about dinner. My sister came over from their condo to baby sit so that Bill and I could have a nice dinner out by ourselves. I made the kids “Kid Cuisine” meals for dinner and Bill and I left. After much discussion we decided to go “ Jackie’s American Grille” for dinner. When we walked in the hostess, who was an older lady looked at Bill and I and said that we were a “cute couple.“ While there, we sat out on the patio for dinner, where there was live music with a saxophone player and it was very nice. We ordered an appetizer of their “Jag” fries, which were steak fries covered with toppings that we chose…we had 2 cheeses, red pepper, artichokes and tomatoes, and spinach along with  a siracha ranch sauce. They were really good. For dinner, Bill had fish and chips and I had chicken salad on a bed of romaine. The salad was very tiny but good, so I was glad that we had ordered the appetizer. I also had a cocktail called the jumping jack which had tequila and other stuff in it and was blue in color. It was really good. 

After dinner, we decided to stop in at one of the many souvenir places to see what they had as we had not done any shopping for souvenirs. We stopped in at a place called Wings, where Bill picked out a t-shirt, I got a shirt for each of the boys and I bought Rebecca a mermaid necklace and I got a turtle bracelet. As we were walking in to the store, a guy rolled down his car window and said "Hey look who we see"….I turned not sure what was going on and it was a guy whose kids go to Rebecca’s school and whose family belongs to our church. They were also vacationing in the area this week. I told him we are both a long way from home…it is such a small world. 

After we came home, the kids showed us their treasures that my parents had brought over for them. Rebecca got a mermaid doll, Benjamin got a turtle stuffed animal, and Jacob got a set of pirate toys. The kids were soon ready for bed, and Jacob asked to sleep with is pirate toys. I told him he could….he then laid one of the pirates on the couch and said, but I am not sleeping with him... it was the pirate that was a skeleton…LOL….

The 2 oldest then went to bed, and the napper decided he wasn’t tired, so I rocked him and finally had to lay down with him to make him go to sleep. I must have dozed off too, because the next thing I knew, I woke up with all the condo lights off and Bill was in bed asleep. So I went to bed as well, tired after another fun day on the coast. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

North Carolina Family Vacation Day 4--boat ride, pirates and beach fun

On Tuesday, I awoke extra early. I was up and on the balcony at 6:30am. I just find that I don’t need as much sleep here. So I sat on the balcony and ate some cheese danish and read some of my library book, while enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean. Around 7:15 I woke the kids up, got them dressed and breakfast as we had a fun morning ahead.

After breakfast, we headed out to a little town called Beaufort. This is the area that Hurricane Arthur made landfall at on Thursday night/Friday morning. Beaufort is an adorable town. We were heading there to take a dolphin watching boat ride aboard “The Lookout Express.” We left the harbor at 9:20 and the first wildlife that we saw as we left the dock area were a couple of wild horses on Carrot Island. That was pretty neat to see. Then we headed out to look for dolphins. The Lookout Express is a sailboat so we had to go under a drawbridge to head up the Newport River, where there are several pods of bottlenose dolphins that like to play and live. Captain Steve said that he thought the dolphins might have been scared away because of the hurricane, but he had seen them the day before. He turned on some reggae music and said that the dolphins liked the music. He also mentioned that before the hurricane had gone through that the water had been crystal blue and very pretty. However, since the hurricane, the water was a murky brownish blue color.  We saw only about 5-6 dolphins while we were in an area that the Captain described as prime dolphin territory. As we were heading back, we passed by a pirate ship that belongs to a real bonafide pirate who is registered with the United States government. As we were heading back toward the docks, we saw a TON of dolphins in the water, including a few that were jumping out of the water.  This was an area where the water was crystal blue and beautiful. The perfect conditions for the dolphins, I suppose. It was really neat to see, and Rebecca especially LOVED seeing the dolphins.

After we disembarked from the boat, we headed down the street to a restaurant named “Clawsons” for lunch. They had really good food. Rebecca and Jacob had cheese quesadilla and fries, Benjamin had grilled cheese and fries, Bill had an angus burger with fries and I had a Carolina BBQ pulled pork sandwich with homemade kettle chips. It was really, really good.

After lunch, we headed a little further down the street to the “North Carolina Maritime Museum”. This free museum is a quaint little museum that houses some awesome artifacts. In 1996, Blackbeard the Pirate’s famous ship, “The Queen Anne’s Revenge” was discovered off the coast of Beaufort in 25 feet of water. Over the years, they have salvaged some of the items and they are housed in the museum. It was neat to see some of the artifacts and to learn that it was maybe 1% of what they had found.

After leaving the museum, we decided to head back to the condo (which was about half hour drive) to recharge our batteries and cool down. The temperature was 93 and their was high humidity. The only saving grace was the sea breeze. When we got back to the condo, we noticed that the winds had kicked up pretty high and that the waves were very choppy. We decided to wait until after dinner to go out to the beach.

For dinner, I fixed chicken nuggets, green beans and mandarin oranges for the kids and I fixed chicken wings for Bill and I. Once again, we ate out on the balcony.

After dinner, we got changed to go out to the beach. Rebecca, Jacob and Bill played in the water, while Benjamin and I sat on the beach. The wind was kicking the sand up really high. While we were on the beach, 2 military helicopters flew over. Because of the wind we didn’t hear them until they were right over us.

After we came in, the kids got bathed and put to bed, and Bill and I went out on the balcony to relax with a wine cooler…classic lime margarita for me and Jamaican me Happy for Bill. I will be honest I was not a fan of the margarita flavor. Then it was off to bed after another great day on the Crystal Coast.

Stay tuned for Day 5! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

North Carolina Family Vacation Day 3---beach time and Fort Macon

Monday morning (July 7)  we all awoke feeling refreshed and ready to go. After a quick breakfast, we all got changed and headed down to the beach for some fun. Bill had developed quite a nasty sunburn on part of his back and side so he said he would stay out of the water and on the beach with Benjamin.

When we got down to the beach, Rebecca and I started making a sand castle. It was a lot of fun, even if Rebecca kept knocking down the towers as she was trying to put shells on to decorate. As we were completing our creation, my parents, brother and sister showed up.  Then my sister and I decided to take Jacob and Rebecca into the water. It was a lot of fun, getting pushed around by the waves. The waves seemed much stronger today. Every time a wave would hit Jacob, he would run up onto the beach and say “I’ve got to get out of the water.” Rebecca loved running up on the beach too.

In the meantime, Benjamin finally decided to have fun in the sand. My dad laid down next to him and he started throwing the sand on my dad and they also played with a wiffle ball. (My dad got a very nasty sunburn on the back of his legs and on the bottom of his feet while he was laying there playing with Ben). Bill then decided to come out to the water and he tried to unsuccessfully catch a fish with a bucket.

After a while, we decided to head back in to change and head out to get some lunch. We decided to head toward the other side of island as we were going to go a local fort that afternoon. We stopped at a place called “4 Corners Diner” which looked like a type of dive that you might find on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” TV show. They were only open for breakfast and lunch. The kids had chicken fingers and fries, and Bill and I had one of their specials--fried trout, fries, coleslaw and hush puppies. The trout was really good, and the hush puppies were amazing. It was really good food, and the waitress was really honest. They also had another special for crab cakes that I thought about getting and the waitress said that she would not recommend them that day.

After lunch, we headed out to the edge of the island toward Fort Macon. The last time we had vacationed in this area we went to Fort Macon as well. In the 8 years it had been since we had been here, they had done a ton of renovations, including building a very nice welcome, visitors center that had a little museum in it and bathrooms and a gift shop. They had also added new display rooms into the actual fort itself. Jacob kept calling it “ Fort Bacon” and he said his favorite part of the fort was the cannons.

After we left Fort Macon, we headed back to the condo to relax a little. Once we came back, I decided I needed to head to the store to get some milk and more sunscreen. I called my mom to see if anyone wanted to ride along as it was a 15 min ride to the nearest store. My sister and brother decided to tag along. We went to “Food Lion”  and got some more essentials…including milk, apple juice, cheese danish, sunscreen and chocolate! After we came back, I cooked a very simple dinner of hot dogs and baked beans and we just relaxed a bit and I gave the kids their baths as they were not going walking on the beach that night.

At 8oclock, my sister came over to watch the kids so that Bill and I could go have an evening walk on the beach that was just the 2 of us. It was really nice to be alone with my sweetie and just enjoy the ocean and talk. We walked for about an hour. When we got back my sister left and we got the kids to bed. I straightened up and then took a shower and Bill and I enjoyed a wine cooler on the balcony---colada for him and blackberry breezer for me. Then we came in to head to bed. Another great day on the Crystal Coast.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Homemaking Meme

Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom, has tagged me in a meme...I used to love to do things like these when I first got on facebook, and when I would get email ones. I haven't done one in a really long time so I thought I would join in. As a side note, I am supposed to tag a few to continue it, but I will just say if you are reading this then you are tagged! :) 

So here goes: 

Aprons - Y/N If Y what does your favorite look like?
I love the idea of an apron, but have never worn one. 

Baking - Favorite thing to bake?
It is probably a toss up between cakes and muffins. I like the challenge of baking and decorating a cake for special occasions, but I like the simplicity of making muffins--especially zucchini and/or pumpkin muffins.  

Clothesline - Y/N
Again like aprons, I like the idea of one, but have never had a chance to use one. 

Donuts - Have you ever made them?
Nope. I have never had a desire to make them.   

Everyday - One homemaking thing you do everyday?
Laundry and dishes.

Freezer - Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Yes I do. It houses our dinner meats and extras.

Garbage Disposal - Y/N
Yes. I missed it when we went on our vacation to North Carolina and the condo we rented did not have one. 

Handbook - What is your favorite homemaking resource?
Honestly I usually turn to blogs for resources.

Ironing - Love it or hate it?
I don't really love it or hate it. It just something that has to be done sometimes. 

Junk drawer- Y/N - Where is it?
Yes in the kitchen.  

Kitchen - Color and decorating scheme?
We are renting so we have no choice as to the scheme. It is done in wallpaper that have vines all over it, and an old fashioned light fixture. Not my ideal kitchen but it is okay. 

Love - What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Making meals for Bill and the kids and watching them enjoy them. 

Mop - Y/N
Yes, as we have all hardwoods through most of the house. 

Nylons - Wash by hand or in washing machine?
When I wear hose, in the washing machine. But that is a rare occurence.   

Oven - Do you use the window to check on things or do you open the door?
I open the door. 

Pizza - What do you put on yours?
Lots of cheese, pepperoni, onions and green peppers.

Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Check Facebook, read a book, read blogs....although with 3 young kids there is rarely a quiet time.  

Recipe Card Box - Y/N
Sort of...I have a recipe binder that I have recipes in that I have gotten handed down to me or that I have been given from people  

Style of house
Lived in....traditional.....????

Tablecloth and napkins - Y/N
No because of the kids.  

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?
Organized mostly...

Vacuum -  How many times per week? 
Less than 1...we only have one closet that has carpet so less often than most people.

Wash - How many loads per week?
At least one load a day....

X's - Do you make a daily to do list and check it off as you do things? 
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Depends on what needs to be done. 

Yard - Y/N - Who does what?
Bill does all the yard work.  

Zzz's - What is the last homemaking task you do for the day before you go to bed?
Turn on the dishwasher, turn off lights and tv and go to bed.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

North Carolina Family Vacation Day 2---turtles, a shark and a walk on the beach

Sunday July 6 was our first full day at the beach….

After we got up, we all enjoyed a breakfast…Jacob and Rebecca had donuts and bananas, Benjamin had cereal and a banana, Bill had donuts and I had a cheese danish and a banana. After breakfast, we all got our swimsuits and sunblock on and headed down to enjoy the gorgeous day.

While on the beach, the kids had a blast. Rebecca kept wanting to go out farther and farther in the ocean. Ben didn’t want anything to do with the water and Jacob liked it for a little bit and then not. My parents and sister and brother are also staying in this area this week and they came down to join us.

For lunch, we came back to the condo and the kids and I had PB&Js, chips and strawberries. Bill had leftover pizza. We ate lunch out on the balcony which the kids enjoyed. After lunch, Jacob was being whiny so he went down for some quiet time and Benjamin and I played and watched a few cartoons while Bill and Rebecca went down to one of the 4 pools in the complex.

For dinner, we decided to go out to eat. We were going to go to a restaurant called Flipperz but when we got there the wait was 45 minutes and with 3 young kids we can’t wait that long. So we decided to go to restaurant named RuckerJohns and they were able to seat us right away. Their food and service are fantastic. Bill had a cajun shrimp wrap which he said was yummy. Rebecca had a hot dog and fries…the fries were handmade and were more cut from real potatoes in circle shaped. Benjamin had grilled cheese and fries. Jacob had a PB&J sandwich and fries. I had a grilled fish sandwich…which was grilled mahi mahi on sourdough bread with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and light vinaigrette. It was really good.

After dinner we decided to walk around the complex where the restaurant was and we saw turtles in the river behind the complex. We also went into a bookstore and looked around at some other shops.

When we came back to the condo, we met up with my parents and brother and sister to walk on the beach before dark. When we got down to the beach, we noticed a few guys fishing right in front of our condo unit. I noticed one guy was pulling his line in and he definitely caught something….well that something turned out to be a shark. When he pulled it ashore he put a tag on its fin and he measured it. He told the bystanders that it was a male, blacktip shark. It measured in at 58 inches long. Then he and his fellow fisherman, got the hook out the sharks mouth and got the shark back into the water and released it. It was amazing to see the shark, but scary to know that it had been caught right near where we had been swimming earlier.

Then we started walking along the beach. The sunset was gorgeous. Rebecca LOVED looking for shells, of which there were a ton. Jacob couldn’t decide if he liked it or not. Benjamin didn’t want to walk at first, but then he realized he liked picking up shells and throwing them. At least he found something to like.

After coming back in, we got the kids bathed and put to bed. Again I had to rock Ben and lay in bed with him before he would go to sleep. Bill and I got showered then enjoyed a wine cooler  (peach fuzzy navel for me, Jamaican me Happy for Bill) on the balcony before we headed to bed ourselves. It was a great first full day at the beach.

Stay tuned for day 3!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

9 years ago today...

9 years ago today, Bill and I stood up in front of family and friends and recited our wedding vows to each other. It is one of the happiest days of my life. 

It has been a crazy ride these past 9 years, but I am very happy that I have had Bill at my side through it all. 

Happy 9th anniversary Bill! I love you!