So I happen to be a bit of a sucker for those ads that pop up in between Facebook posts. It’s how I ended up with a bit of a miniature DIY dollhouse addiction as well as the most comfortable travel neck pillow I’ve ever owned. It’s also how I stumbled upon Frontier Airlines advertising for $29 one way flights. Remembering that my parents now spend three months of each year in Florida, I decided to do a bit of research and found that Frontier flies to an airport that was only an hour away. I actually thought it might be a scam because it was so cheap until I put in all of the info and realized that by skipping the frills (like carry-ons and guaranteed seats together) I could buy two round trip tickets with a checked bag for $162 total.
So that is just what I did. This sweet girl joined me for a Monday through Friday adventure. The only downfall was that she did miss four days of school, but clearly she didn’t mind.
And actually, we were able to fit in a little bit of education while we were visiting Florida. My mom’s Florida friend Beth offered to give us a nature tour the first day we were there.
We learned about the Saw Palmetto and Sabal Palm (two of Florida’s native palms) and how to tell the differences. We also learned about buzzards and berries and saw a recently dug tortoise hole. It was overall very interesting and educational and a fun way to kick off our time in southern Florida.
I loved spending time with my parents. They’ve been avoiding the snowy winters in Michigan and going down to Florida for three years now. They have a beautiful fifth wheel that they drive down that has a garage for their motorcycle and they are thoroughly enjoying their retired life. My Dad worked hard for as long as I can remember, and I’m so thankful to see that they are able to enjoy the fruits of that labor.
During our visit, we enjoyed a good amount of leisure time with some fun adventures sprinkled in. We visited a wildlife sanctuary that had an abundance of lions, tigers and bears as well as other interesting animals. They described themselves as a bit of a nursing home for animals that were abandoned, abused or retired and who were unable to return to the wild. On the one hand it was sad to read the stories of what these animals had gone through, but on the other, it was good to think of this organization taking them in and caring for them since no one else could.
This picture just made me smile because Ellee has such a close bond with her Grandma. It’s special because she really only gets to see my parents a few times a year but she really does love them so very much.
Another highlight was getting to see The Greatest Showman with my mom and Ellee (Grandpa opted to see Star Wars). I am absolutely in love with that movie and it’s incredible soundtrack. I’ve seen it twice now and it was really sweet getting to see it with these fun ladies.
Some more of my favorite moments from our trip included:
Grandpa making his famous French Toast. It never disappoints.
Ellee getting a January swim on the day before southern Florida hit record lows.
Ellee and Grandma holding hands just because.
Grandpa teaching us how to play Shuffleboard.
My sweet Aunt Joyce making a delicious Key Lime pie for Ellee and my mom’s birthday.
And my final favorite memory was driving to Parkesdale Farm for their famous Strawberry Shortcake, pictured below. It was absolutely outstanding and well worth the long drive it took to get there.
And that about sums up our trip. Looking back, I’m so glad that we were able to take the time to go and visit my parents. We enjoyed so many little adventures and made lots of sweet memories to cherish. A huge thanks to Frontier Airlines for their ridiculously cheap flights (that overall were pretty fantastic) and to my awesome parents for a wonderful winter vacation to sunny southern Florida.