With the busy Christmas season behind us my husband and I wanted to get away as a family with our girls. We decided to spend the time off and go down to the gulf coast where we were hopping for warmer weather and could visit with my long time girl friend and her family. It was far from the relaxing family vacation we had envisioned, but more on that next week. In the end we had a fun adventure staying in a hotel with the babies for the first time and an even bigger adventure visiting with my friend Jaclyn and her family at their hunting camp in Alabama.
It was a long drive down to Destin, Florida we stopped in the quaint little town Eufala, Alabama, the road leading to downtown is lined with beautiful historic homes. We had lunch in the one restaurant that was open and peeked around the old building it was housed in which use to be a hotel with retail on it’s street level. Then we visited the biggest thrift/antique shop I’ve ever seen. I was in a little bit of heaven in this place and I think the girls enjoyed their window shopping experience as well.
It was quite late when we arrived to our Hotel, the Hilton at Sandestin, we settled in to our room for the night and the girls got in a game of toddler bowling with the plastic toy balls we brought that bounced and made loud noises on the tile floor.
Up early as usual we spent the morning at the indoor pool and after the girls naps went over to Sandestins’ Baytown Warf shopping village. We had lunch at a restaurant that came recommended to us, Acme Oyster House. Apparently they weren’t mistaken, the food was great and Emeril Lagasse was seated at the table right behind us! Sorry, no picture to prove it, my husband wouldn’t let me be that tourist.
There was a playground that the girls played in for a bit, but even more fun was watching the ducks and running around the grassy lawn with a new little friend. It was too cold to go to the beach that day but out of the wind and in the sun it was nice to be outside in the village.
The next day we packed up and headed north to meet our friends in Spanish Fort Alabama to follow them into the camp. We had lunch at a bass pro shop, an experience all in it’s self then let the kids get some energy out at Kangaroos, a kids indoor play place with a bunch of inflatables.
While they were off watching the trees sway Jaclyn and I entertained the kids, fed them and tried to make sense of this new environment. It was Jaclyn and her kids first time there as well. Clearly this was the ultimate man cave and was in dire need of a female touch. After a quick sweep of the floor and a little furniture rearranging it was family friendly.
The camp is a private club of members who pay an annual fee to use the land for hunting and the facilities. There are about 40 members to this particular camp and about 1700 acres of land. There are rules to follow and respect of the property is expected from everyone who visits. Some of the members who have belong to the camp for several years have caravans parked on the property that they sleep in when they are staying the night. One member even built his own small cabin!
This place has so much character. Decades of people coming and going has left such a mark on this place, every inch of this place has been touched and retouched. I felt like I was on a treasure hunt the whole time I was there. I wonder if anyone knows this full size jenny Lind style bed is worth about $150?
We stayed in the main cabin and were the only overnight guests for new years.
The main cabin has a covered and tarped porch to shelter it from the wind, a main livingroom/kitchen, a large bunk room with eight beds, a smaller bunk room with two beds and a full bathroom. It’s simple, rustic and perfect. There is nothing to fuss over, it’s a place for relaxing and enjoying nature and the people around you.
I loved being at the camp and the girls did too. In the morning they played to their hearts content in the pea gravel and dirt. They loved having almost free reign to go and do and to have other kids around to play with.
Hannukka has passed and Christmas is just days a way. This year has flown by and yet so much has changed. It’s been such a great year for my family, we are lucky beyond words. I am so thankful for another year of living an amazing life and looking forward to the next.
Happy Holidays to all of you from my family to yours.
I hope that this year was a good one, and I hope that next year is even better.
Thank you to all of you who sent my family holiday greeting cards. We love receiving them and seeing how everyone’s families have changed in a year. And I love that I have this place to display and share them.
We celebrated the girls 1st birthday with a big party at our home yesterday with lot of family and friends. I worked really hard to create a beautiful scene for the party and my husband worked really hard to creat a beautiful and tasty food spread. Everything was great and I am really happy with how it turned out. The girls had a great time and our new deck proved to be the ultimate party place, save for a few black and yellow striped friends that we could have done without it was a great afternoon.
Here are a few things I have been working on/collecting I preparation for he girls First birthday party.
A dresser to put the cake and deserts on, because every first birthday cake deserves a fancy piece of furniture to sit on before it gets smashed.
Part of me hates to share this little secret, but I am a blogger and therefore an open book and not sharing this little treasure would eat away at me until I did.
While in Israel my husband and I left the babies with my in laws and went treasure hunting for the day. My husband would probably call it junk shopping but he knows how much I love it so he plays along and even enables me.
He took me to Jaffa shook (market) a few city blocks of market stalls selling a variety of wares. Touristy stuff like handmade judeica items for your home, jewelry, clothing, scarves and old metal candle sticks and a section that is more flea market/yard sale than souvenir market.
Mid century modern furniture lining the streets, piled high in some spots and layered ten deep in others. There was wood, vinyl, metal and plastic, bright colors and faded stain. I asked for prices on a few items I was dreaming of bringing home and even before the negotiations (haggling is an Israeli national pastime. If you pay asking, you paid too much!) the prices were good.
After I stopped drooling over the furniture we turned the corned and there were rugs, as far as I could see. They were beautiful vibrantly colored hand knotted wool rugs. Vendor after vendor of the softest rugs.
And that’s not all. As I’m walking along in the scorching heat, wishing there wasn’t more to see so we could get back in the car with the wonderful air conditioning, I see a cloth, unfolded laying across some rolled up carpets on the sidewalk. I opened it, it was a hand embroidered Suzani textile. They are hard to find and very expensive. In the US they can cost between $600 for a small and $1500 for a king size. As I was admiring the cloth the shop owner told me the price, 1500 shekels, or $375, a great price. Still a lot of money. He wasn’t fluent in English and I am not fluent in hebrew, so in my trying to explain to him that I want to pay a fair price I just can’t spend hundreds of dollers on a bed spread, he kept lowering the price. Eventually he was going to sell me the beautiful textile for $120. The problem was, if I was going to spend $120 on one of these textiles I would have wanted to open every single one that he had in his shop to pick my favorite.
And I know, knowing what I do of Israeli shop keepers, as soon as I picked my favorite the price would be at least double and the whole haggling would start again. So I told the shop keeper that one day I would be back with enough money to buy all the Suzani textiles I can.
A girl can dream.
I Am still totally obsessed with instagram. I just love the super inspiring images I find there. For example there is this group of people who live in LA and all colaborate on various creative projects, their usernames are the littlest, designlovefest, Jenn gotch, the flash dance and bonnietsang. Yeah, I’m a total instagram stalker. All these people also have amazing blogs where they display thier work, but I prefer instagram because it’s where they record and share what inspires them. Then I have the twin moms I follow. Some have babies older than mine and some younger, it fun to see what other moms are doing with their double tots. And last I follow a few very stylish moms whom I get baby outfitting and baby photography ideas from. So, there, I let you in on a bit of my craziness. But look at the fun pictures I get from this craziness.