Vacation and Family Time

We just got back from a great week-long vacation visiting my family in Florida. It was a time of relaxing, cooking, talking, playing games and a bit of sight seeing. We try to make the trip every 2 years. 
(Two of my aunts, my grandma and two cousins, and me (in the middle)
While my family is originally from Northern Ohio, from a town that sits on Lake Erie, my grandma and grandpa moved to Florida in the late 1980's for my grandpa's health. After he passed away one of my cousins and then two aunts moved down there as well. 

 (We had breakfast at the Old Sugar Mill Restaurant at DeLeon Springs..home of the fountain of cook your breakfast at your table)
This was our third trip down. The first time we went, we spent much of the time seeing Disney World, then family, then took a trip to the Bahamas (we had done one of those package deals). The second time, we stayed the entire time at my family's (they are 45 minutes from Disney) and just did the parks for 2 or 3 days, hit a few water parks and then just visited with family. This time, we skipped the parks altogether and just spent it with family. What a great time it was. 
(after trying on the other two trips to Blue Springs, we finally saw the manatee that spend the winter here...and a 13' alligator, these are all in their natural habitat. The manatee visit the spring in the winter because it's warmer..they venture out into the St. Johns River to eat)
Our girls spent most of their time with my cousin's two daughters (6 & 9), swimming in my aunts pool, playing and watching movies. Hubby spent much time just relaxing (he got hooked on Netflix...which we're hoping will make him want to get it). I spent time doing a little bit of everything but mainly just enjoying being with family. My grandma pulled out some old family reunion recipe books and a few other old recipe books and sent them home with me. I love cooking and recipe books and she knew that. She pulled out a manila envelope with old pictures, some I'd never seen and I sat looking and laughing at different ones. So much fun. We cooked together, played games, just enjoyed the company of family. There is nothing like family.
(My grandma "Ma" as we call her, making Pizza Fritte for us all to eat)
Because I live so far from family my hubby planned a "birthday" party for myself, Kat and Nan, celebrating our birthdays with family. My two cousins, myself, my two girls and my one cousins' two daughters headed to a movie Sunday afternoon (we were totally clueless). Hubby even acted surprised that I was going. When we got home, the house was decorated, my other aunt had come over to help out, they had made an amazingly yummy brownie cake with the most yummy frosting, we had tostadas and pulled pork sandwiches and hubby got us fun gifts from a local dollar store. What a blast. 
We ate out a few times, enjoyed yummy home cooked meals (I even had shrimp and grits for the first time..yum!). I made my famous 4 cheese fettucini one night. Hubby jumped in several times to do dishes. He's so good at that! My aunt has an amazing Bunn coffee maker that literally brews the coffee in seconds. In the mornings I would hear her grinding coffee and by the time I walked out the bedroom (which was pretty quick) the coffee was ready..Talk about being spoiled!
(Strolling the streets of St. Augustine. The first time we visited here..2 years ago, it rained...beautiful town..the top picture was at an old drugstore that had bottles of old medicines and awesome)
We ate wonderful meals, made beautiful memories and can't wait to go back again. It's so fun to get away, but always great to be home. The plane ride there was awesome. The plane ride home left a lot to be desired! Plus it was 11:00pm when we landed, midnight when we got home, so needless to say we were tired. I think we're finally back in the swing of things, over jet lag and ready to face soccer and everything else that comes our way! 
(We also visited Daytona Beach...the water is so much warmer than our Pacific Ocean and the sand is white)
Hopefully I'll have some new recipes to post soon.

With Joy UNquenchable,


  1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by! Your vacation sounds so fun, those are the best times!

  2. Hi Kirstin,

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog. And I am so happy to have discovered yours! Your pictures are just delightful. Makes me long for the ocean!


  3. What a wonderful trip! Family time is truly the most beautiful!


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