Yesterday was to be Round 1 – Day 07/21 of Shift Shop and it was to be a day of either rest or Shift Mobility. Instead I walked🚶🏽 alllllllllll day lol. Close friends of ours were heading to Busch Gardens for the day and we hadn’t been there together since 2007 when the Griffon roller coaster🎢 ride first opened there.
It was a short travel to get to Busch Gardens, about an hour. We arrived at around noon and left after Celtic Fyre at about 9pm. It was a long day of walking, burning a whole lot of calories and having fabulous day with friends.
My hubby & I had so much fun even though we didn’t do many rides. Keith did a few of the coasters (If you are in to roller coasters, you’ll LOVE this park) with our friend Jason while me, Jason’s wife Wendy, their son and our friend Rachel (her hubby had to work 😞) and her two girls took the kids for their rides and fun adventures. We all met up after and went to the “More Pet Shenanigans Show”. 😸🐶🕊️🐔🐀🐷All their animals are rescues and they are treated really well. The show was realllllly cute and funny. The video below wasn’t the show we attended (this was posted last year) but all the animals seemed to be super happy and having fun. All the dogs were wagging their tails and looked loved.
The whole layout of Busch Gardens is really beautiful, with lots of places to stop and rest in the shade and get cool drinks. We did a meal package plan which was very reasonably priced for a theme park. And the food, although cafeteria style was delicious, with healthier options available. There are adventures and experiences for all ages and the park is kept clean (even the bathrooms).
After the More Pet Shenanigans Show, we all kind of went our separate ways. Jason and Wendy headed home and Rachel and the girls went over to have fun with the Sesame Street Show and fun play area. Keith and I went to see Britmania, a musical show about the British invasion of music into the U.S., it was a fun show especially if you are a fan of musicals and music. After that we grabbed some dinner in Canada since we had done lunch in England. The park is divided up by hamlets to be able to travel your way around the park. Each of the hamlets has their own shops with fare that would be from that hamlet. From baked goods, to jewelry.
- Banbury Cross (England)
- Heatherdowns (Scotland)
- Sesame Street Forest of Fun
- Killarney (Ireland)
- San Marco (Italy)
- Festa Italia (Italy)
- Rhinefeld (Rhineland Germany)
- Land of the Dragons
- Oktoberfest (Bavarian Germany)
- Aquitaine (France)
- New France (French Canada)
After dinner we headed to Celtic Fyre, which was the show we were most looking forward to seeing! If you like celtic song and dance, you would be mesmerized by their performance! It was Broadway level showmanship and artistry. We would go back just to see this show again! Below is a promo for the show.
We headed homeward bound after Celtic Fyre. I ended up burning about 1, 400 😯calories just walking around all day! So all in all it was a pretty ✨magical ✨day
Day 1 🌞🚙🌤️🍕
Thank you Mom, Dad, Tori and Barry for making this all happen!
We’ve been waiting for this kind of vacation a long time! And the family was waiting for this reunion for 12 years! That was the last time they were all together as a family. So this was super special. The ride there was beautiful. And you’ll hear that word thrown around a lot in this blog post 😄 So we drove from Virginia Beach to the Jersey Shore (Point Pleasant NJ/Beach) and we had great weather for the drive and very few stops. We were just excited to get there.
When we arrived, not everyone was there yet and wouldn’t be until Tuesday. We stayed at the Sand Pebble Motor Lodge in the Victorian. We were upstairs in a three bedroom suite (which was in itself two floors). We stayed with Keith’s parents, his brother Barry, sis-in-law Tori and their two littles (kids). The place was HUGE. His brother and fam was on the second floor of our suite, they had a massive bedroom with a king size bed, a huge bathroom with tub and a HUGE walk in closet that was actually used as the kids playroom, yeah it was that big. We think it may have originally been a small bedroom that they converted into a massive walk in closet. We were downstairs, where there were two bedrooms and a HUGE bathroom and kitchen. The living room was pretty big too. The kitchen was fully equipped and stocked with utensils, pots, pans, dishes, etc…. Keith’s big brother stayed downstairs in another suite (the steps in the first pic below show the entrance to their suite, we were on floor 2). Their suite was also roomy, a big two bedroom with large kitchen.
We arrived around dinner time and so we just had pizza and enjoyed time with family. After dinner we took a walk down to the boardwalk (which was open till midnight) to walk around and get some desert.
Day 2 ☀️⛱👙🌊 🚂
Sunshine and blue skies! Time to hit the beach!!! The beach was nice. When staying at the Sand Pebble you can get a discount for tickets to Jenkinson’s Beach. Now this was something I had never heard of, people owning parts of the beach and you paying to get on their beach. Here is VB we don’t have that. We either have public beaches or private beaches that you can only access if you are staying someplace on that beach.
The beach ended up being $2 a day per person after the lodge discount. Not bad I suppose. It pays for having a clean beach, and lifeguards everywhere. You feel pretty safe at this beach. It was beautiful!!
We went our own way for a bit and ended up at a cozy diner, Beach Diner and had a quick dinner while watching the trains go by.
Afterwards we headed back down to the boardwalk for the kids to all ride rides (lots of good ones for the kids), play carny games and get desert at the The Black Anchor Coffee House, which was delicious!!!!
Day 3 🌤️📷🥗
Most of this day was just very family oriented. We took family photo’s and just spent time reconnecting and connecting. The day before Aunt Kate (Keith’s Mom’s sister) and her hubby Uncle Mike also came down and joined us and took family photo’s for us.
We all went out to dinner at Frankie’s. I had a salad and was disappointed they didn’t even have bread sticks let alone bread. But my salad was good! And everyone just enjoyed spending time with each other. After all, for some it had been 12 years since they last saw each other. Keith (my hubby) had not seen his oldest brother Scott in 12 years! Scott and Nauko’s oldest was just a baby boy when he last saw them. And I had never met them. They live all the way in Washington State. So this really was a special time for all of us!
Day 4 🌥️📷🐸🦉🐧🐢🐠🐡🦐🐍🌦️⛈️
Jenkinson’s Aquarium was how we spent most of the day. It was a pretty laid back day with a few raindrops. And the start of some thunderstorms. It was a good day for an indoor experience.
To be honest, I really thought the aquarium was just going to be a roadside afterthought kind of place. I was even worried I would see mistreatment,neglect or bad conditions here. But it was the complete opposite. They were cleaning all the time, the animals looked happy and well fed. And happily I found this place to be very conscientious about animal welfare and sustainability. They had displays everywhere for conservation, animal protection, rescue, preservation and keeping the waterways clean of debris. I was pretty impressed with this little aquarium. They care a lot about their residents and the animal world.
ps….their seal, Luseal wasn’t always alone here. Luseal is a rescue and so was the other resident seal. Sadly Luseal’s companion passed away recently. From what they said they are hoping to be able to take in another rescued seal.
Day 5 ⛈️☔💦🥙🚂
Rain, thunder, lightening, downpours! But it was still a pretty awesome day. We hung around the house for a while and hung out with family and then met with one of Keith’s old friends and her hubby for dinner. We had met once before and have been Facebook friends, but I haven’t seen her since Keith and I first got together! She even got married since then and moved out of Jersey to PA and then back to Jersey. So it was time to catch up! Unfortunately for whatever reason, we completely forgot to snap any pictures. But it was a fun evening playing catch up at Beach Diner with good friends we don’t get to see often enough!
And we did make tentative plans to get together some time during the holidays! And next time, we will take pictures!!
Day 6 Headed Home….☀️😢🌊⛴
All good things I suppose have an ending, or at least a, till next time. And we’ve already decided there will be a next time. We have solo trip plans and plans that involve group vacations back to Point Pleasant. We also determined that we can’t let so much time go by with us not seeing the littles. Keith is godfather to the two littlest niece and nephew and since they are in New Jersey and us in Virginia, we decided we need to start meeting at some half way points, even if only for weekends here and there so we can all see each other. Time slips away and we may ourselves eventually move further away so we have to find the time and take the time to spend with family while we can!
We grew closer to family who are in Washington State too and we may even move there one day soon, who knows. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to live and Keith’s job could potentially come up with a transfer there. But either way we have to make it happen that we see each other more. Kids need family bonds and although it’s hard when people are so transient now and tend to live in other states, or even countries, to make the effort to remember that kids needs to know family.
We all had a quick lunch together back at Frankie’s and then a quick run back down to the boardwalk for us to grab this massive apple (we had at the beginning of the trip, soooo good!) and some taffy, as well as a new wall hanging for our ocean(esq) living room!
It was especially nice for Keith, Scott and Barry’s parents to see us all, and see us all together. Time keeps moving and before you know it, 12 years have gone by. I think we all learned a valuable lesson while having a beautiful and memorable family vacation!
💙Till next we meet….
Spiced Vegan Seed Brittle
1 cup natural cane sugar
½ cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup water
½ cup hulled pumpkin seeds
½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
⅛ tsp flakey sea salt, plus extra to finish
2 tbsp dairy free butter
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 candy thermometer
1 wooden spoon
Baking sheet with parchment or baking mat
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.
On your stovetop, toast the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a saucepan until fragrant, shaking the pan so they are evenly roasted. Remove from heat and toss with salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. In another small bowl, mix the vanilla extract with the baking soda. Set both aside.
After wiping out the saucepan with a damp cloth, add cane sugar, brown rice syrup, and water, bringing to a boil. Submerge the end of your candy thermometer in the sugar mix to monitor the temperature. As it bubbles, the water will cook off and the sugars will begin to caramelize. The brown rice syrup helps to keep the sugars from recrystallizing into lumps as it heats.
Keep an eye on the temperature. When the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees F, or after about 15–20 minutes, it’s time to add your spiced seeds and dairy-free butter. The sugar should be golden brown. Mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated.
For the final step, remove your warmed baking sheet from the oven and place near the stove. Convince small children, pets, and curious kitchen observers to clear the area.
As the temperature of the sugar hits 300 degrees F (or darkens just a bit more if you’re without a candy thermometer), pour in the vanilla/baking soda solution and stir. The sugar will foam and bubble as the baking soda reaction releases carbon dioxide. These tiny bubbles keep the brittle from becoming teeth-achingly hard. Immediately remove saucepan from the heat and pour the seed brittle mix onto your lined baking sheet.
If you’re impatient, like me, you can use a greased spoon to level the mixture; although it will self-level as it comes to room temperature. Sprinkle with a pinch more sea salt if you’re diggin’ the salty sweet, and after about 10 minutes, you can cut the brittle into little pieces. If you want rustic shards, wait a bit longer and crack with your hands.
If stored properly at room temperature and away from moisture, the brittle will keep for about three weeks…although once the word gets out that there’s brittle in the kitchen I would be surprised if it makes it three days. Give as gifts or keep all for yourself. Sometimes it’s OK to be a little scrooge-y when it comes to caramel covered spicy seeds.
I found this fantastic travel blog, G Adventures and a really cool write up about how to, and not to take travel photo’s. I’m just learning how to take better photo’s mysself. And am signing up for classes very very soon. Photo’s hold your most precious memories. Not only for yourself but for everyone you share your adventures with now and in the future. Learning how to better capture those moments is a subject I’m delving into more and more. So check out the blog and learn how to take better vacation pics!
How Not to Take a Travel Photo
Do you suffer from boring travel photo syndrome? Don’t worry! Travel photographer Peter West Carey’s got your cure!
Source: How Not to Take a Travel Photo
Most people I know wish they could travel as much as possible. The two biggest reasons I’ve heard for why they don’t travel more is money or vacation time from work. I can’t solve the vacation time…
Source: Vacation for less