Summer Vacation 2016: What We Ate

We ate really well while on vacation. I mentioned here that we ate in a lot which not only saved money but also saved my sanity. Taking children to a busy restaurant at night after a long day in the sun is not my idea of fun. If we did go out to eat it was normally for lunch when everyone wasn’t too tired and the restaurants weren’t too busy. 

Here is a look at some of our meals over the course of the month.

Breakfasts looked something like this for me. The kids ate eggs and bacon almost


Lunches were salads if we were home, sandwiches if on the boat.



Dinner was normally on the grill.




We did go to a few restaurants that really stood out.

While in Key West we ate at Schooner Warf for lunch and it was great!


Fish Dip


Tuna Nachos


Conch Fritters


Blackened Snapper Sandwich

IMG_7321This place was no frills. It is open air and everything is served on paper plates with plastic silverware. That didn’t bother us at all because the food was DELICIOUS. 

We also ate lunch here one day. We sat by the water and it was great! The shrimp were amazing.IMG_7354


Mango Mojito


Royal Red Shrimp – These were a special and were amazing


Fish Dip


Cracked Conch


Mahi Sandwich


Conch Chowder

While in Marathon one day we ate here for lunch. They are known for their Lobster Reuben so I gave it a whirl. It was great!



The No Name Pub was close to us in Big Pine Key. We ordered take-out a few times and ate at the house but we did go in for lunch one day. Their pizzas are great and their fish dip is amazing. I got the Taco Pizza and it was great. I love any kind of pizza you can put a salad on. Sorry it is really dark in there so the picture doesn’t really do it justice. IMG_1677

We definitely ate at home a lot but there are no shortage of great places to eat while visiting.

If you are ever in Big Pine Key you definitely need to put these places on your list.

Square Grouper – I have personally never been here but everyone I know who has gone has loved it. I would suggest going for dinner and getting there early. It fills up fast!

Bistro 31 – This place is a great spot when you want a restaurant to cook your catch. We did this last year and it was fabulous. We brought in wahoo and the chef fried it for us. It wasn’t heavy at all. Super delicious! Their spaghetti was also great.


Wharf Waterside – This is another great dinner spot. They have live music and great specials. Their mussels are wonderful!IMG_1659



Boondocks Grille & Draft House – This would be one of my least favorite as far as food goes, but the atmosphere is great. There is live music and the whole restaurant is open-air. The kids also like it here 1. because their meals are served on take-home Frisbee’s and 2. there is a put-put golf course attached. So be ready for your kids to beg you to play the entire time you eat-ours did. I would suggest the appetizers over the entrees. IMG_1432


Eating in the Keys is somewhat of a sport in and of itself. There are so many amazing places to explore. You could really center a whole trip around just restaurants and I would definitely recommend doing that if you have the opportunity. 

Now, excuse me while I go do some additional Burpees to work off all the vacation food.

Next up, I will post about what we took. A good trip all depends on good gear. I will share what worked for us.

If you missed where we stayed, you can find it here.

If you missed, what we did you can find that here.


Summer Vacation 2016: What We Did

Our Keys trip was really jam packed. We really made the most of every day. We found a routine and went with it. 

Unless the weather didn’t cooperate we went out on the boat at least one time a day. Whether it be snorkeling, fishing, or just riding around, we really wanted to get on the water as much as possible. 

Our days pretty much went like this.

8-8:30- Get up and moving. Coffee and breakfast and taking our time.IMG_1423

9-10 – This was normally my exercise time. I would either walk or do my own “boot camp” style workouts outside using this app.  
11:00 -Pack up the boat and head out to snorkel, fish, and hit the sandbar. I did paddle board one day also!









4-5 – Head back home, swim in the pool shower up.

6-7 – Make and eat dinner.

10:00- Lights out and then start all over again the next day.

These were typical days but we did manage to get some other things in too. 

One day it rained a bunch so we couldn’t go out. That day was filled with lots of “Crazy Eights”.


One day we went to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. This was great for the kids. We learned a lot about different turtles and what we can do to keep them safe.IMG_7291






We also took a couple of trips to Key West. Although it was very very hot, we did have a good time. IMG_7298






We mostly ate in on this trip and I cannot say how great this was. As much as I LOVE going out to dinner it was so much easier to not have to get everyone cleaned, dressed and packed up into the car after a long day outside. We used the grill A LOT and it was perfect!

We also took the boat back out a couple of times after dinner to catch the sunsets. So perfect!!IMG_7326




We had such a great time. There are so many things to do in the Keys. Even if you don’t have a boat there are tons of ways to get out on the water. Hiring a charter is easy and there are plenty! I think just being together every day was great for us. We have been to the Keys many many times without a boat and we still enjoyed ourselves. 

This will definitely go down as one of the best vacations we have ever taken. Such a great time.

If you missed where we stayed it is here.

Next up – what we ate!


Summer 2016 Bucket List

I cannot believe the summer is almost over. Our kiddos go back to school on Monday and man it feels like we just celebrated the end of the year. We have had an amazing fun-filled summer.

We knew our Keys trip would take up the bulk of our summer but that didn’t mean we weren’t going to get in as much summer fun as possible.

Here is our Summer Bucket List chalkboard. IMG_0958

And here it is now that we have reached the end of a really memorable summer.IMG_1943

We did almost everything on the list!

Library 1x a week – Before we left for our vacation we made sure to go to the library at least once a week. I really wanted to keep their reading going so they keep sharp for the new school year. 

Movies – We saw 2 movies. One before we left “Finding Dory” and one when we got back “The Secret Life of Pets”. The kids love movies and when it is brutally hot outside, it is definitely nice to have a cool place to escape for a couple of hours.

Bowl – This was a fun one! The bowling alley here had a program where the kids could bowl for free during the summer! You pay for the shoe rental ($4) and you get two free games. Parents pay $2 for games and $3 shoe rental. It was such a great deal! It was also great to change it up and do something different and  be indoors (see brutally hot above).IMG_7202


Splash Pad – One of the YMCA’s in our area has a Fun Pool that includes a waterfall, water canons and all kinds of fun splashing. The kids took a quick swim test then they were able to swim around. This was perfect. I went to my kickboxing class then after we changed into our suits and played in the water for a bit. 

Eat popsicles – No brainer. This happened quite a bit. I even think they were breakfast a couple of times #norulessummer.

Golf – This is one we didn’t get to. Boo. This is one of my New Year’s Resolutions too!! I have got to get to the course soon.

Paddle Board – I got to do this in the Keys. I LOVE paddle boarding. Not only is the scenery beautiful but it is a great workout too!

Fish – We did this in the Keys too! IMG_7395

Go Tubing – Sadly we didn’t get to this one either. We will have to save it for next summer.

Beach – Yes! We only had a couple of actual days at the beach. But the time we spent there was fun.

Zoo – We didn’t make it to the zoo this year. We just ran out of time! I tell you this summer seemed super short!!

Picnic – We actually did this unintentionally. The park we planned on going to was closed so we just threw down a towel and had an impromptu picnic outside the gates. IMG_7212

Keys – Yes! I will have a few posts on this.

Ride Bikes – Absolutely! Think we are close to having two kids without training wheels over here. Lookout neighborhood, these kiddos are coming!

Make lemonade – We did this too. Although the kids think I don’t make it sweet enough. #sugaraddicts

Make s’mores – We made these and took them on a sunset cruise in the Keys. So fun.IMG_1586


Get ice cream – We did this plenty of times too!IMG_7191


I would say we have had a very successful and exciting summer. We have made so many amazing memories and I can only hope my kids look back on these times and remember how much fun we had being together.

I’m sad to see summer go but I will be honest, I am really looking forward to getting back into routines, schedules and activities that come with the school year. 

Hoping you had a fun and memorable summer too!



Tomato Sandwich Recipe

I am feeling a little nostalgic this week. Monday my Grandmother would have celebrated her 94th birthday. It is hard to believe she has been gone for almost seven years. I have been missing her lately. 

When my sister and I were lucky enough to go stay with my grandparents during the summer we would have so much fun. Normally, we would only make the trip from Florida to Tennessee for Thanksgiving, so being able to go during the summer was a treat. We would pick blackberries, help Granddaddy with his garden and help Grandmother with canning and preserving.

I don’t know what they do to the soil in Tennessee but I tell you it is magical. I remember seeing a hot house cucumber at the grocery store in my twenties and I thought, my Granddaddy grew these in his garden when I was a kid, way before they were cool and they were delicious! And can we talk about the tomatoes? I mean talk.about.the.tomatoes. I have never tasted a tomato that is as good as one from Tennessee. #Truth.

I learned to love tomatoes those summers spent at my grandparents’ house. That love is still with me. The tomatoes here in Florida don’t really hold a candle to the ones we had those summers with Grandmother and Granddaddy, but around this time of year they are just about as good as they are going to get and I will eat my weight in tomato sandwiches and swim in memories of our summers in Tennessee.

That was my long-winded way of saying that these sandwiches are memory machines. For these, I was feeling wild and added some avocado but I will always have a special place in my heart (and stomach) for the original: a juicy tomato on toasted bread, with salt, pepper and mayo. That was it. Simple and so delicious.

So if you are in Tennessee, enjoy your magic soil and amazing tomatoes. Feel free to send me some if you think of it. I will just be here making these wishing I was eight again.

Happy Birthday Grandmother.





Princess approved!


Tomato Sandwiches
Serves 2
Summer tomatoes are the best.
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  1. 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  2. 4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
  3. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  4. 1 avocado, mashed
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Toast the bread slices
  2. Split the mayonnaise between the slices (1 tablespoon per sandwich)
  3. Spread each slice with the mashed avocado
  4. Top with the sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper
Steph in Symmetry

Happy Friday

Sorry for the radio silence over here. I’ve been busy splitting my time between summer fun with the family and work. It’s all about the balance right?

Some random things for a Friday.

We are trying to check things off our bucket list and have been pretty successful but we still have quite a few left. 

We finally have a Trader Joe’s!! The store opened today. I can’t believe it has taken so long for us to get one. I am very excited and might even go this weekend  to be part of what I’m sure will be a very busy opening!

I am trying to think of some fun recipes for July 4th! I have a pasta salad in mind that I might just try.

The kids are having such a great time so far this summer. Here is basically a photo dump of what we’ve been up to.

Some beachin’.

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Some poolin’.

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 Some grillin’.

IMG_2823 IMG_2807 IMG_2826

 Tons of Some restaurant eatin’.

IMG_2791 IMG_3057 IMG_2779 IMG_3055 

 Some ice cream makin’.


And lots of family funnin’.

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Hope you are having a great summer too!


2014 Summer Bucket List

Today was the official last day of school for Little Man. I cannot believe he is done with kindergarten. I have been very emotional today so to take my mind off things I decided to jump on the Summer Bucket List bandwagon.

I keep seeing so many great ideas on Pinterest and all over the internet so I thought we would join in on the fun. Since I will still be working full-time, Little Man will be in camp for most of the summer, and The Princess will continue with daycare, our list will have things that can be done in the afternoons/evenings and on the weekends. I found this great printable.


I printed it out as a full-size photo on 8 1/2 x 11 paper and trimmed it a bit on the edges to fit in an 8×10 frame. I just used a dry erase marker right on the glass to write out our boxes and list.

Here are some highlights:

Make homemade ice cream

Go to the pool

Fish in the lake

Family Game Night

Eat outside

Clean rooms/playroom and donate toys

Dollar Movie

Little Man to read 6 Junie B Jones books

The Princess to practice writing her letters

Sidewalk chalk

Food Trucks for dinner


Breakfast for dinner

Mini golf

Feed ducks

Batting Cages

Ice skating

Outdoor movie or concert

Attend baseball game

Whew. This seems like a lot but I think we can do it! Little Man will be going on quite a few field trips during camp and The Princess has water day every Friday so there will be no shortage of fun things going on. Not to mention our family vacation to the Keys.

I look forward to a busy and exciting summer. Mainly to keep my mind off the fact that my oldest will be in first grade come August. Ugh.

What things are on your Summer Bucket List?