Travel and Beach Hack

We have a lot to tote from the van to the beach or on one of our many road trips that you all are gradually learning are part of our existence. Whether we are carrying them or finding room to fit them in the van, it seems that we are always having to choose which things we can do without for the moment.

Two things that we absolutely cannot do without are drinks and a way to keep these drinks cold. Now, we have been at this for a while and have tried all of the methods that we have found. We have frozen our water bottles, bought the Koolaid Jammers and ice packs, and carried jugs of HiC and grabbed cups of ice along the way. All of these end up watered down or too heavy to tote with the sand toys or other items.

Finally, on our Friday trip to the beach this week, we tried something new. Honestly, this was not a genius moment that was planned but rather out of necessity. You see, we were going to be out for the day and did not have any Koolaid jugs and only two Jammers in the fridge. We were leaving early and did not want to face Walmart (which is still crazy post- Irma). We have one of those little rolly cooler bags that don’t quite hold enough anyway, but we had forgotten to put the ice packs back in the freezer from our last adventure.

So, here we were facing Walmart and watered down drinks at the beach.

Until….. (enter dramatic drumroll), I opened the freezer to find these little numbers…


We all seem to have them. They are cheap, quick, and somewhat reasonable treats. But, on this day, they were drinks and ice! Now, I know…sugar sugar sugar. But, the kids were going to be in the sun all day and running on the beach so I believe we offset the additional calories (not that we actually put too much thought into this), and, with a pair of scissors tucked into the bag, we were set every time one of them yelled that they were thirsty.

At the end of the day, the snacks were still cold and the popsicles in the middle still had ice! We were able to put the “leftovers” back into the freezer without worry for the next scheduled road trip which will take place tomorrow night!

Stay tuned for exciting updates on this journey!



Daily Prompt: Planet (The End of the World?)

Okay, so I typically do not get into the doomsday conspiracy conversations and I try to avoid religious conversations as I frequently have an issue with holding my tongue and do not like to offend anyone on that deep of a level. And let’s face it, this world today is easily offended no matter what it is we bring up so avoiding this is quite an accomplishment (patting myself on the back)

But, today’s daily prompt, planet, led me to this discussion so, if I offend anyone, you know who to blame (chuckle chuckle)!

So, reading the news this morning, I saw that David Meade, a doomsday conspiracist, has “rescheduled” the end of the world based on reworking his calculations that had led him to pinning the date of September 23, 2017. (You can read the article, here). The theory is that a tenth planet is set to collide with the earth and, based on the number 33 (found frequently in the Bible if you look for number patterns), the eclipse on August 21 had led him to September 23 (33 days later) but he had overlooked the number 40 which places the date at the beginning of October. Now, why the middle of October is not the cutoff for our existence rather than the beginning is left unclear in the article but perhaps this allows time for the theorists to wiggle in a new calculation by Halloween!

Okay, so, let me get this straight, the Bible did not specifically tell anyone when or how the world was going to end but left “clues” so that some mathematician (not minister) would locate the numbers game in the ancient text (that has been altered in translation) that would specifically outline the date of the end of the world?

I would like to propose a new theory. If you add one and one and then subtract the same, you will get the exact worth of the theories that claim divine guidance in predicting the end of the world! I am not an overtly religious fanatic but I was given a good foundation of the Bible throughout my youth in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. I believe in the text, as it was written, and I believe that the interpretations are intended more individually that most people give God credit for being able to achieve. In other words, it is not a one-size-fits-all kinda content but the basic principles remain the same.

Moving on (aka holding my tongue), if Christ himself was unaware as to when the end of time would occur, then why is it that we live our lives looking for someone to give us this answer? Why is this David Meade in the news and gaining attention for his ability to continue to manipulate numbers (and people)?

There are conspiracies that are accurate. There are people in the governments and activists groups who are working together against the common good of others. Look into these. Find out what is happening that will affect your life on earth. Do what you can to make others’ lives better. Follow your religious beliefs. But do not be manipulated.

Life is short. We do not need a conspiracist to tell us that!


Understanding ‘Hangry’: Toddler Talk


Okay, so it has been a while since I have shared one of my deep conversations with the little princess, Clarabelle, but this one was too good not to share today. After we took her brother, Elliott, to get his first haircut, we decided that we would head to Olive Garden for a bite to eat. We pulled into the parking lot and Clarabelle immediately begins to shout because this place has both stickers and salad! I mean, this is damn near as good as it gets!

Anyway, we get to our seat, the rounded booth in the corner, and Clarabelle slides in the middle to begin to strategically place her stickers while we order our drinks and begin to look at the menus. As soon as the menus open, as most toddlers, there was an immediate need for a potty run. Of course, the restrooms are on the opposite side of the restaurant so I prepare for a mad dash.

However, Clarabelle is not in a hurry at all. She looks and smiles at each table that we pass. She takes just a second to observe each guest with their plates. Finally, after she has collected enough data, she looks up at me and says, “everyone is eating. They are mad.”

I kinda chuckled and said, “people do like food, don’t they?”

Clarabelle, not shaken by my jovial response continued to elaborate. “I get mad when I am hungry. I get a little grumpy while we are waiting for our food.”

Now, I am sure that she has heard one of us say this at some point, but it kinda took me by surprise that she was able to recognize the difference between the expressions of those who were eating and those who were still waiting. I realized that we often forget our own expressions and may appear to be grumpy or mad when really we are just focused on being hungry.

Then, I considered the difference between being hungry and wanting food. After all, we were not standing in line waiting on rations. We were not hoping that we would get fed. It had not even been that long since the last snack time of the day. We were not hungry, but we were ready to eat.

How often do we get angry because our wants are not met as quickly as we would like? How often do we confuse our wants with needs? Obviously, we must eat, but are we so incapable of waiting, are our wants really that urgent, that we cannot manage a smile while we wait? Can we really not tell the difference?

My first job was as a server at a Pizza Inn in Pigeon Forge, TN when I was 14 years old. My parents had divorced and I spent the summers with my mother. I remember the rapid pace of the buffet-style restaurant and thinking that all of these vacationers did not seem to be very relaxed. Most of my job experience until I finished my degree consisted of restaurant work from serving to managing. People always seemed happier at the end of the meal than when they arrived and I always believed that I had something to do with their improved mood. However, when looking at it now, the fulfillment of a want is only a temporary improvement and, as long as we are unable to differentiate between wants and needs, we will never have anything more permanent.

We all get ‘hangry.’ We all want something immediately and, at times, we even have immediate needs. But, for the most part, we are just in such a hurry that we stay mad more often than happy. We complain more than we are satisfied. We want more than we need.


To want is not to need,



We Got the First Haircut!!! (Regardless of how many firsts we lost)

It was a week before court and the foster parents called my daughter to ask if they could take my grandson to get his first haircut. She immediately began to cry. Elliott was only 3 months old when he was ripped from his mother’s arms. She had one Valentine’s Day and one Easter with him but every other first, she had lost due to the CPS investigation. She missed his first time crawling, his first steps, his first tooth, his first Halloween, his first Christmas, and the list goes on and on. You know how many firsts happen in the first year of a child’s life! But this, this first could wait!

Apparently, the foster family had to gain permission from the worker and the mother before altering his appearance. My daughter would not give hers unless she was present. Instead, she offered to have one of her visits to be used for her to take him to get his first haircut. THIS WAS NOT ALLOWED!!!! She was not allowed to have his haircut!

So, she decided that it simply would not be done! Now, my little blonde haired baby boy has hair so light that he looked nearly bald regardless of the strands that laid over his ears so we figured that he would be just fine until he came home.

A few weeks later, he was back in his family’s arms and we kinda enjoyed seeing his little wisps blow as we walked with him along the beach. He still had a little while before it would be necessary to cut it so we waited and held on to the anticipation of his “first” in the same way that we would have naturally anticipated his first steps had the system not robbed us of that moment.

Today, was the day! Today, my grandson received his first haircut with his mommy standing by his side and his Gigi reassuring him while snapping every possible photo possible. This was OUR first and today will forever be embedded into the story of our lives!

When they take all they can, do not give them anymore!