Our Family Vacation- Fun, Foraging, Eating, Etc...

Ike, Mike, and Lee on vacation.
Mike, Lee, Ike, Anneliese, and I spent this past week at a resort town where we, luckily, have a place we can stay free of charge; there's a reason it has become our annual vacation destination. I wanted to share some pictures as well as what we did; I also wanted to share a few lessons I've learned from our trip.

Before we left the house, my husband got annoyed at me- he thought I way over packed, bringing stuff as if we were going away for a year and not just 5 days.
I? I have experience with this stuff. I'm a mom afterall. I know exactly what happens when you go away, especially with kids! You think you'll only need a little bit of stuff, but then you have diaper blow outs, accidents, cranky kids because they want toys to play with, kids are hungry and you need to have food with which to feed them, etc... My motto is- if you under pack, you may end up really needing something that you didn't bring, and suffer because of it. If you overpack, the worst that can happen is you have more to carry.

My husband thought I overpacked, but in the end- we used everything that we brought, and honestly, I think we should have brought more than we did, as it would have saved us money, as you'll see below.

For our trip, I decided to use disposable diapers instead of our usual cloth, as doing diaper laundry on vacation wasn't a possibility. We did not go out to eat at all while we were away, both for frugal reasons and because of food intolerances, which meant that I had to bring along some cooking implements. I also chose to bring along some foods from home that I either wasn't sure if I'd be able to find there, or that would be much more expensive to buy on vacation. All in all, we traveled with two large backpacks, one small backpack, and one shoulder bag. I still don't think it was too much, but my husband disagrees. If we'd traveled with a car, I doubt anyone would have said we overpacked, but since we traveled there by bus, t was a little harder to lug everything along.
Yes, we went by bus. The cost of transportation there, $37 round trip for the family, was the only real money we spent on the trip, other than food, which we would have had to spend at home as well. I'll admit though, food does cost more on a trip than I would at home, but still nothing outrageous.

One thing we did not bring was sun screen- sun screen is often carcinogenic, and can cause bigger problems using it than not. We all made sure to be covered up, even when at the beach and in the water, wearing hats with brims, long sleeves, etc... to keep the sun from burning us. We also made use of large umbrellas at the beach, stayed in the shade as much as possible, and timed our activities so we were indoors during the hottest/sunniest part of the day. Doing that, none of us got burnt, thankfully, even with the really hot weather and no sunscreen.

The first day, because we only left home later on in the day, we got to our destination after it was already too late to go out and do something, so we just settled in, did some food shopping, then made a BBQ. I served spiced baked rice, green beans sauted with balsamic vinegar and mushrooms, and grilled chicken and eggplant.

The next day, we had gluten free cereal (bought on sale, then brought from home) with tahini milk, then chilled out at home. For lunch, we had sabich rice paper wraps, then headed out to the beach.

Ike had a great time playing in the sand with me. We dug channels for the waves to fill.

Ike, Mike, and Lee had a terrific time swimming at the beach.

Anneliese spent most of our beach trip taking a nap on a towel on the sand, covered by an umbrella. If you were wondering what we did for swim diapers for her, we used an unstuffed pocket diaper, which holds in poo, but doesn't absorb water.

I had a great time in the water as well! So cool and refreshing! The waves were a little too calm for my liking though...

On the way home from the beach, I passed some ice plants, which I'll tell you more about in a future post. Hint- its for foraging!

The view on our walk home from the beach.

Anneliese chilling out/sleeping, while being worn in my terrific baby carrier.

For supper that night, we had leftovers, as well as a one pot pasta and meat dish, as well as Bianca's beet salad (with raw beets instead of cooked).

Next morning, for breakfast, we had gluten free pancakes which I had made at home, froze, and brought along. Once defrosted, we ate them with peanut butter and jelly. We then went to a nearby grassy area to have a picnic lunch. We brought along rice cakes, mock tuna salad, a can of olives, and radishes. On the way there, I spotted a bunch of purslane, which we then ate on our open faced mock tuna salad/rice cake sandwiches.  Yes, I forage on vacation. I don't just do it to save money, I do it because I get a kick out of it, and I really enjoy it. In fact, I especially like foraging on vacation, because I get to sample wild edibles that don't grow in my location, and get to try new foods.

While there, I spotted some plants I knew to be edible, whose name I forgot, but thanks to uploading my pictures to facebook via my smartphone, I was able to identify it as crithmum maritimum, also known as rock samphire, edible plant that grows along the coast. Shakespeare even writes about samphire harvesters.

Once identified, I tasted the samphire- it reminded me of a spicy wild fennel, just with fleshier leaves. Its flowers remind me of fennel flowers. I wasn't surprised to discover that it is actually closely related to fennel.

We brought along a kite and frisbee to play with on the grass, and while I was busy discovering new wild edibles, Ike played with the kids with the kite and frisbee. They entertained the kids for a bit, what Ike and Lee really wanted was to go to the beach.

We went to a different beach than we went to the first time, one closer to where we were staying, with bigger waves. I sent Mike back to our place to bring swim suits, towels, and the big beach umbrella.

The waves at this beach were so strong that when I put Anneliese sitting up high up the shoreline, out of the water, every once in a while, a big wave would come and wash over my baby's legs, startling her. She loved it!

We played in the water and played in the sand, building sand castles together.

Anneliese tasted sand. Icky!

Then we rushed back, as we were having a barbecue with friends at a nearby park. On the way home, I picked some samphire and purslane to prepare to serve at the barbecue. Also on the way home, Lee's sandals broke. Fortunately, it was his old sandals, not his new ones which I just bought a week and a half ago, but it was a problem. I was considering bringing along 2 pairs of shoes for the kids, but didn't, in an effort to "pack light", and then we were stuck with no shoes for Lee. Mike hand to carry him home. Lee came to the barbecue barefoot.

At the barbecue, we had grilled fish (gilthead bream- absolutely delicious) and hot dogs, as well as baked potatoes, purslane tomato salad, and the samphire.

The purslane tomato salad was a big hit with everyone. It had purlsane, tomatoes, lemon, salt, pepper, oil, and garlic powder. 

I really enjoyed the samphire, as did my family, but the friends with barbecued with weren't as much of a fan. I made my samphire dish by first blanching the samphire, then sauteing onions and garlic, then sauteing the samphire and adding some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt. 

The next day, (after eating rice cakes with peanut butter and jelly for breakfast), we chilled out where we were staying, then went to the mall to try to find Ike a pair of cheap shoes to wear for the duration of the trip. I really didn't like needing to buy shoes again after having just bought him new sandals exactly one week prior, but had no choice. We found relatively cheap ($15) imitation Crocs, which we bought for him, as they were the cheapest shoes we could find... (All other shoes we saw were minimum $40 dollars.) 

After a supper of miso soup (fermented soy miso- gluten free, msg free, wakame seaweed, rice noodles, and shitake mushrooms), we headed out to the boardwalk along the shore.

We ended up at the park along the boardwalk, where my kids played and played and played until it got dark.

A friend who lives in the area came by and joined us at the park, then came back with us to our place, where we talked until really late at night.

The next day, breakfast was PB&J rice cakes, and lunch was leftovers, and then we went home. For eating on the way home, I made rice paper wraps filled with veggies, hummus, mock tuna salad, and chicken breast. Due to traffic of one kind and another, what should have been a less than 3 hour trip home took us approximately 5 hours.

By the time we got home, we were exhausted and ready for bed.

Great vacation, great memories, but it's great to be back!

Do you enjoy going to beaches? How often do you go to the beach? If you have kids, do your kids like the beach?
What is your example of a perfect vacation?
What do you generally do about food when on vacation, especially if you have allergies? Do you bring along food from home? Buy in a grocery store while there? Buy ready made food, like sandwiches? Or do you go out to restaurants?
Any plans on vacationing this summer?
If you're a forager, do you forage on vacation, or do you take a vacation from foraging when away from home? 

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I just foraged a bunch of samphire from the Rosh Hanikra beach! Thanks for giving me the confidence to do it!

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