4 Family Friendly Vacations to Create Unforgettable Memories

Family time is so important to you; spending the days with your children and partner makes you happier than ever. It’s no secret that you and your family love an adventure, so it’s time to start thinking about where you can go on vacation next year. It’s never too soon to start planning these things so get your brain into gear now. Whether you want to experience something completely new in the countryside or you fancy taking a dip into a crystal clear ocean, there are so many options to start exploring now. Your family vacation is set to be a memorable and magical time as long as you plan ahead and get the ball rolling right now!

  • Camping – There is nothing more enjoyable than going back to basics and taking some time out to camp in the great outdoors. If you haven’t already heard about RV camping (San Diego), then you need to start exploring your options right now. Enjoy an adventure in America’s Finest City and take in the must see sights and famous attractions. Cool your own dinner from the comfort of your RV and spend the evening around a classic campfire whilst you look at the alarming stars in the sky.

  • Beach Break – If you’re fed up of the cold winter weather then now might be the perfect opportunity to plan a beautiful beach break. Whether you’re jetting off to the warm temperatures of Spain or you’re hoping to soak up the rays in the South of France there are so many ocean filled adventures you could take with your family right now.
  • City Life – If you’ve got inquisitive kids who like to explore new cities then this kind of break might be just what you’re looking for. Heading out to local museums, grabbing a quick bite to eat in a traditional café and spending your evenings exploring the vivacious night life in a town. No matter how young or old your children are they are bound to find excitement in a city so consult your travel bucket list and get it booked into the diary.
  • Stay-Cations -You don’t have to venture far to have a magical and memorable holiday; sometimes having a staycation is all you need to do. Check into a swanky hotel near where you live or head to a local amusement park. Staying close to home means that you don’t have to worry about the stresses of travelling and it will probably save you a lot of money too!

No matter what kind of budget you are working with, you are bound to find a truly special trip that your little ones will remember forever. Whether you’re camping out in an RV or exploring a European city like never before, you will have happy smiling faces from start to finish. Consider all of the ideas mentioned above and see if your family want to take a vote on their next happy holiday; one of them is bound to get everybody excited!

 

Our Outer Banks Adventure

I love being near the Outer Banks. It’s nothing for me to just get up on a day and drive down there for a few hours. During my maternity leave, I actually loaded Caleb up in the car and drove down there, picked up some Duck Donuts and came back home. It was a wonderful trip and a good way to spend a morning.

Caleb’s first taste of cantaloupe – he loved it!

Every summer for about 18 years now, my grandparents go down to the Outer Banks for about a week and stay in a condo inviting the rest of the family to come. I usually try to get down there. In the past few years though, I’ve only managed to go down for the day. The condo is located right near the ocean and when I was younger, it felt safe for me to be able to come and go as I pleased pretty much.

Two of Caleb’s favorite toys – a cup and a spoon!

The latest tropical storm lurked about 150 miles south off the coast of North Carolina this weekend, making it overcast, WINDY, and cool. The temperatures lurked in the low 80’s near about all weekend, giving us a nice break from the previous weeks. We couldn’t go on the beach because of how hard the sand was being blown everywhere but that’s okay – we still had fun!

Bonding time with the grandson!

My mom had picked Caleb up a float for the pool so we went to the indoor pool for about 15-20 minutes and let Caleb float around. He’s been in the water before and enjoys it. His little legs were kicking as hard as they could. I think that I have a little water baby on my hands and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Caleb was wore out from floating around, so I put him down for a brief nap before he resumed crawling around on the carpet. Crawling is something that he just started doing that weekend and he was so proud to show his skills off. He has even been working on pulling himself up a little bit. Now that he is mobile… we have our hands full!

After his nap, my mom, Caleb and I went down to Rock-A-Bye Baby OBX and picked up some really cute goodies. I can’t wait to get back and shop some more! I’m working on a YouTube video right now that’ll feature some of the goodies that I purchased from the shop as well as some clips of Caleb swimming.

I took Monday off of work so that Caleb and I could relax a little bit. Since it was a much warmer day, I took him outside and allowed him to just go to town with a bowl of apple puree. I think he had fun!

Our Edenton Adventure

I love going to the farmer’s market and the Edenton Farmer’s Market is one of my all-time favorite markets. I love the variety that is offered and the market seems to really have a bond with the rest of the community. Even better, they just opened up in a snazzy new permanent location this year. I’ve been wanting to check it out for a while now so Robb and I bundled up Caleb and made the drive over to Edenton.

I always set myself a spending limit for the farmer’s market. If I don’t, then I usually end up going way past my spending budget for the month. $40 seems to be the magical number for me since we grow a lot of our own food. I view the farmer’s market mainly as a way to supplement what we grow and as a venue to find some super awesome items. So here is what I got for my Farmer’s Market $40:

As of Monday morning, all we have left from our haul is two rabbit ears, some honey goat cheese, the microgreens, and the ground lamb. There is nothing like cooking with fresh, local vegetables.

After showing Caleb off at the farmer’s market, we decided to walk a few blocks downtown. I wish that it had been a few degrees warmer but it wasn’t bad if you stayed out of the wind. Robb had carried Caleb around the market but I slipped him into his carrier for our longer walk. Our Lil Bean is growing so fast that he will really tire out your arms! One of the things that I like most about babywearing (besides the bonding time) is that on a chilly day, it helps to keep Caleb nice and toasty.

Like every other time when we go to Edenton, I made Robb go into the Cupola House garden to take some photos of me. If the weather had been a bit nicer, I would have made him go to a few other spots but I decided that could way for another day. Maybe when Caleb is slightly bigger and we will be able to take him down to the playground and I can swing with him.

We went into Salty Kisses Boutique to check out their sale and found an absolutely adorable monster hat for Caleb when he gets a bit bigger.

For lunch, we ate at the recently opened Governor’s Pub. Robb had a burger while I had a turkey Reuben (aka, the “Rachel”).

We were all tuckered out by then so we piled in the car and headed back home.

I love our little day trips and can’t wait to take Caleb on some more adventures! Though I think that he might have been a little less than impressed with the day…

The Lowdown on North Carolina’s Brunch Bill

If you are a North Carolinian, you may have heard a lot of buzz in the last few months about the “brunch bill”. But do you really know what’s going on with it?

The “brunch bill”, which is actually Senate Bill 155 and contains a plethora of other changes to North Carolina’s liquor laws, would allow stores and restaurants to begin selling beer and alcohol starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays (it was previously noon). The bill was signed into action by Governor Roy Cooper on June 30 however local municipalities have to approve the bill for their own communities before the law could go into effect.

Surprisingly not everyone has been on board with this bill and some communities (such as Kure Beach, Nags Head, and New Bern) did not reach the 2/3 majority of votes needed to pass it. From my reading, it seems like the biggest reason the bill did not pass was because of morality reasons – people fear that by selling alcohol earlier on a Sunday, it would deter individuals from going to church or that it would ruin the “family” atmosphere of a tourist area.

Seriously? The beaches are already covered with cigarette butts, beer cans, and other less than savory items in these “family” areas. You walk an extra block in some cute little historic town and may find yourself in a crime ridden neighborhood where heroin needles linger in the gutters. I think our communities need to focus a bit more on fixing their already existing issues than trying to blame those issues on something that hasn’t even come to fruition yet.

But I digress.

I’m not a big drinker myself. I might have one Corona on occasion or a pumpkin beer during the season, but that’s about the extent of it. Does it matter to me about picking up a 6-pack from the grocery store at 11:30 a.m.? Not really. Even though I rarely consume alcohol, I still see the need for North Carolina’s Brunch Bill to pass.

Why?

Revenue.

Living off the cuff of North Carolina’s coast, we receive a lot of tourists to this area. A lot of tourists who support our local businesses and would more than likely not attend church in the area anyway. These are typically families who aren’t going to go wild and crazy and turn into lushes at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning. They are the ones who are going to want to go out, have someone else prepare their breakfast, and enjoy a mimosa or two with their family.

This is the opportunity to drive additional business to our areas. Instead of staying home and fixing their own drinks, people could spend the money out in the community. They could support our local restaurants and shops. The price of one bloody mary may not seem like it would make much difference, but if that person then decides to wander into the shop next door, then multiple people benefit.

The majority of restaurants seem to be in favor of the “brunch bill” but as the communities in North Carolina continue to vote, it’ll be interesting to see the overall outcome.

What do you think about the “brunch bill”? If you aren’t in North Carolina, what time does alcohol sales start on Sunday in your area?

North Carolina Oysters

During the late 1880’s, North Carolina oysters were being harvested as an alarming rate and shipped out all over the country. At it’s peak in 1902, 800,000 bushels of oysters were harvested, exhausting the supply and threatening the future of the species [information from NC Oysters]. Thank goodness that efforts have been made to rectify this and increase the population.

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Like I’ve said before, I have been fortunate to grow up surrounded by fresh seafood. Oysters aren’t a delicacy to me but are simply another reason to gather around at my grandparent’s house. We’ve had oyster roasts for as far back as I can remember, though when I was younger, the oysters were heated on top of a wood stove until they popped open. Now we steam them over a cooker but they taste just the same – delicious. Typically we wait until January to cook oysters the first oysters of the season(sometimes we will have them on Christmas Eve) though the recreational harvest season runs from October 15 through March 31.

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I tend to like my oysters a bit firmer than most (otherwise it tends to look like snot). I also  chew my oysters (unlike most of my family). Once I’ve waited as long as I can wait, I snatch the oyster from the cooker, careful to avoid the steam. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned to open an oyster with moderate success. You lay the blade of your oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster and twist until it pops apart.

If there is any juice, I sip it. The salter the better and where/when your oyster was harvested sometimes dictates the saltiness. I slather the meat in homemade cocktail sauce (a mixture of horseradish and ketchup, though I’m a bit heavy handed on the former) and eat it.

When we get fresh oysters, we always eat them steamed. If we are wanting to fry oysters, we usually will pick up a jar of already shelled oysters from Quality Seafood.

This wouldn’t be a post on oysters if I didn’t highlight the oyster knife of my dreams. Made by Carolina Suckers from an old railroad spike, this oyster knife is practically a work of art to me.

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The Mother Shucker

Maybe one day I’ll get my hand of one of these beauties. For now, I’ll just keep using the crusty – well, let’s call them vintage – oysters knives rummaged from drawers at my grandparent’s house.

Do you eat oysters? What is your favorite way to eat them (steamed, fried, make into an oyster stuffing)?