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Posts tagged with: summer vacation

The Accidental Real Food Lesson


Yesterday was…by far…our most touristy day.  It wasn’t a huge slip but we did spend $15 on ice cream, $5 on taffy and about $50 on other miscellaneous stuff.   It was payday so we had new spending money but I still had money left over from last week’s spending so…that’s pretty darn good I say considering we are on vacation.

On Friday afternoon after our big hike we went out to our first restaurant meal.  It was $80 (with tip) for the six of us to eat and we put no limits on the kids–meaning they were allowed to get drinks and their selection from the menu.  Steve and I noticed right away that the kids were genuinely excited and grateful to be eating out.  This, in itself, was a proud moment!  That’s what a meal out should be–a treat…not the norm.  Steve and I agreed we could “cheat” on the real food diet on this one day.  In the end, we (Steve and I) were disappointed.  We think we built up the getting to eat out thing so much that the food couldn’t live up to the hype.  Now, here’s the interesting thing…Steve and I made a point to observe the kids after they ate the restaurant items of their choice.  Sure enough–by the time we got back to the house (maybe 30 minutes after dinner)–DD was asking for a snack!  This has not been happening with our real food diet as the real stuff keeps her full longer.  About an hour later the boys were asking for a snack.  It was such a notable difference b/c since we have started this real food thing, we have not had late evening requests for snacks.  Dinner is served and that’s the last eating that occurs.  We didn’t say anything that night b/c we have to be careful not to talk about this real food thing too much b/c the boys are right at the age where they will rebel just to rebel.  Meaning if we say it too much they’ll get sick of hearing it and sabotage the plan…not to be disobedient but just to push the envelope as tweens and teens often do.

Now, fast forward to Saturday.  We planned to go to Mass at 4:30 pm so we figured we’d just walk the downtown touristy area a few hours before Mass.  We had a huge breakfast at about 10 am and the kids still were not hungry at 2 pm when we were heading into town.  Now what we did next was a bit of a slip b/c we were only planning on eating out once but I think it turned out to be a valuable lesson.  We discovered a “real food” restaurant and decided to give it a try.  What a HUGE difference from the meal the night before!  We didn’t have to say anything about food at all but instead listened to the kids discuss the difference in taste, quality, texture and yes…the food making them feel full.  Steve did take that opportunity to discuss the differences b/w the two restaurants and how the majority of restaurants are like the Friday night place–just not real food.  The kids could not stop raving about Saturday’s lunch spot and it was worth the $57  we spent to feed all six of us. No drinks this time and we were sure to point out that the menu prices were about the same at both restaurants so the savings on drinks was at least 20 bucks!  The kids ended up seeing the value of real food without us lecturing about it–and that is a great (accidental) benefit!  So, if you are ever in the Estes Park area….we highly recommend Notchtop Bakery and Cafe.  http://www.thenotchtop.com/menus.html

And now we are off to pack and put this house back together!  We fly back to SA late this evening…ready to dive into the week first thing tomorrow morning! One of the boys leaves for Boy Scout camp at 8 am while the other goes to a conditioning camp at his high school. I am back to the office and Steve flies to Atlanta at 11 am Monday morning and is gone for the week.  Nothing like easing into the swing of things!  Oh well, we are good at this…it is what we do!


Summer Vacation Memories are Free


As my husband, my brothers, and I leave for our summer vacation today, I can’t help but remember some of the best summers of my life growing up. My brothers and I have always been close friends – and always up to no good.

When my brothers (John & Mike) and I were 13 and 15, one of my dad’s oh so responsible employees showed us how to build a potato gun – because everyone knows the combination of pipe, potatoes, a bottle of WD-40, and a flame tool are landmark in safety and you should share them with teenagers.

We spent our afternoons launching the potatoes into targets… *cough* the pool deck… *cough* the new trees… *cough* the house siding… (sorry ‘bout those dents dad)

On a particularly hot day, John filled the chamber up with a combination of Rave hairspray and WD-40. The fumes filled the air as he quickly spun the cap on and pulled out the matches. He touched the flame to the side and a loud BOOM exploded into our ears. Mike and I looked down to see John on his back, his shoes smoldering, and the lawn burst into flames.

He hadn’t spun the cap on tightly and instead of launching the potato, the force rocketed the cap and the flame onto John’s shoed feet.

Responsibly… Mike and I laughed hysterically at John.

We laughed so hard, we overlooked the fact that the lawn was still on fire. About 60 seconds of laughing at John’s smoldering blackened shoes went by before we suddenly became aware that the fire was growing. If mom saw the fire, she’d never let us shoot another potato again (though I’m not sure she ever truly ‘approved’ it in the first place).

Mike ran for the hose while John stomped out what he could.

Fortunately they got the fire out (hence the reason they are such good firefighters… they started young) but there was still a huge problem…

There was a black spot of charred lawn directly in front of the screen door that mom surely wouldn’t miss. We couldn’t think of a believable story for the burn spot and we certainly weren’t going to tell the truth sooooo…

We dug out the lawn, tossed it across the fence, threw on some fresh dirt, then went inside and told mom the dogs had dug a patch of the lawn.

As for John’s shoes? ‘Pssshhh. Mom, that’s a fashion statement. Don’t you know style?!?!’

My best summer vacation memories were never about where we stayed or what kind of expensive things my parents bought, they were always about the fun times with my family.

Sure, we aren’t going somewhere nice this year, but we’re going together – and that’s the best part.