Gulf Coast Oil Spill

This is just heartbreaking…  we literally sit, and wait, and pray.    It is hard to put into words how pretty it is here, but here are a few pictures.  We love where we live, but we love the beaches, the wildlife, the fishing, the everything.

realjoy beach

Look at how clear this water is!!!

realjoyAbbi & Morgan beach 1

It has been a long weekend and it consumes us all along the Emerald Coast.  So…I let the kids do what they do best today, PLAY!  Here is hoping and praying for the best and enjoying a rainy stormy day at the beach!

realjoyAbbi and morgan beach 2

Abbi fishing in the backyard - in the bay...

In our front yard...
In our front yard…

realjoyMorgan fishing


A fairly yucky day, but look at how gorgeous our beaches are in spite of the storms.  I am so worried about our local families and wildlife.  In an already depressed market this is frightening.  Lifegaurds have been told they will not have jobs soon, they’re closing the pass (which allows boats in and out of the bay), boat captains, boat dealers, real estate, retaurants, it has the potential to paralyze a small fishing, resort community.  People are scared and the animals… the animals, they are helpless.
  Volunteers are needed, but it is very important to understand how to help.  The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge is preparing for a potentially huge undertaking as they mobilize for the oil response.  Old towels, baby blankets, kennels, large plastic tubs with lids (the big ones ~ 18 to 24 gallon), heating pads, heat lamps are just a few of the things they need.

Beaches in Puerto Rico

Now here we are in Puerto Rico and it was gorgeous – we LOVED it and the water is really pretty, but the sand, it just isn’t the same as our sand, BUT that is not why we went to Puerto Rico, they have rainforests and glowing bays and great food and quaint streets, THAT is why we went to Puerto Rico and I highly reccomend a visit if you have not been.  Our beaches are still prettier, that’s all…
I am a beach snob  – I’m good with that…
This was a picture of my girls last summer – note the sugar white sand and the clear emerald green water – It is amazing and honestly no beaches compare, it isn’t even fair to try…
Peurto Rico has rainforests though and those cute little talking frogs…

Spring Break in Puerto Rico

Rooftop Pool in Peurto Rico
We have arrived!!! The top of our hotel is like an all inclusive retreat with grassy areas, a pool, cabana boys and cabanas 🙂 and of course cocktails are served on the lanai…
realjoy Jessica and Morgan on the way to bay at night
Highly reccomend a trip to the Bioluminescent Bay at night – the girls had so much fun!!!
realjoy Bill and Abbi on the way to the bay at night
It is a great way to see the city at night, quiet and dark and the less full the moon, the better the sparklies show up better.
realjoy Bio Bay sparklies
So this probably is not a great picture, but they looked like underwater sparklers when you move the water around and it was magical especially if you are 8
realjoy Subway at the rainforest
Leave it to the American’s 🙂 eating subway up in the rainforest!
realjoy The mystery fruit
Do you know what this is? Downside of no tourist guide – mystery fruit is still a mystery…
realjoy rainforest fern
Ginormous rainforest Fern!
realjoy More snails
Birds of paradise of some sort? with huge snails!!!
realjoy Bill in the jungle
All we were missing were monkeys!!!
realjoywaterfall Jessica and morgan
Just driving around the El Yunque National Rainforest and look a rainfall – we don’t have this in Destin…
Gorgeous wildflower along our hike up the mountain today….
realjoyrainforest 2
Looking out – absolutely breathtaking! Check this one off my bucket list!!!
realjoy Bill and Mr Bean
I know it is wrong, but look at how much this guy looks like “Mr. Bean”
RealJoy Jessica and Mr Bean
Jessica – the people working at the church did not think this was nearly as funny as we did…
realjoy Beware of dog
I hope this was meant to be funny because he was licking the windo trying to get to us.

This was not on the top of my list of places to visit and I am so so glad we did, it was so beautiful and pretty easy to get around.  Most importantly the kids loved it, it was just too short – we needed about 5 more days to take it all in, but loved it and loved the food!!!

Locks of Love

Locks of Love
Getting ready to cut it all off!

Ok I have been bad about posting as I have been pretty busy with work, BUT Abbi’s hair was finally long enough to cut and donate sooooo she did and I am so proud of her (me smiling)…

Locks of Love
My favorite part of this picture is Morgan dancing in the back ground…
realjoypropertiesLocks of Love 3
realjoypropertiesLocks of LOve 4
realjoy propertiesLocks of Love 5
So proud of little Abbi and she is excited!

Happy St Patricks Day!!!

Happy St Patricks Day!  It has been a cold and cloudy day which has made traffic almost stop. A lot of Spring Breakers are here and they seem to look younger and younger every year…  Certainly I am not getting any older?  Anyways, I made corned beef and potatos and to my suprise – my children LOVED it.  There was no meat left.  I also served sweet peas for a bit of green (they were not as big of a hit, but the dogs enjoyed so not all was lost).

realjoypropertiesSt Patricks

Going on a treasure hunt...
After school Morgan decided to go on a treasure hunt in our back yard – where she did dig up the garden – in her shorts and Justice Peace rainboots – looking for buried treasure. We back up to the bayou, so we are pretty sure there is buried treasue in the back yard… I will keep you posted on that front.
Evidence of treasure hunt…I love this 🙂
Lastly – Bill had to go to Pensacola today and brought me home the most beautiful roses today, look…

Baby it’s cold outside!

I am astonished at how diverse our little town is.  Our beaches are easily the most beautiful beaches on this planet (I am not biased) but it has historically been difficult to get here, so we are a little bit of a secret.  My girls are always disappointed in other beaches because they are so spoiled.  They assume every beach is like ours, but right now the spring breakers are here and you can tell, because…  they are IN the water.  Bikinis and it is freezing.  The grocery stores are full and this is a crazy time in Destin, because the snowbirds are not quite gone yet and the spring breakers have arrived and it is a bit like oil and water.

Red Bay Grocery

On the way back to Destin halfway between the metropolis of Bruce and the Springs of Ponce de Leon on Highway 81. Ten miles south of I-10 is the Red Bay Grocery.  Stepping in there is like stepping back in time. I am happy everytime I walk in there, it is kind of difficult to explain, you almost need to experience this place, I love it!!!  The food is “wow” so good and not expensive.  It is the place to stop when you are coming to or leaving the area for sure.  Friendly people and really good tea and banana pudding, which in the south is key.
Red Bay 1
Red Bay

Abbi Red Bay

My Abbi

red bay Moo

My Morgan

Red Bay Grocery and Bill

My love

red bay basket
red bay peaches
red bay honey
Red Bay Grocery Store
Love how the liquid plumr and buck lickers are right next to the cute little jams ~ only in the south!
Red Bay Day

The long road back to Florida

We had to leave the meat to be processed and we just kind of took our time heading back to Destin as this was a gorgeous spring day.  North Florida gets cold in the winter (NOT as cold as Nebraska) but this was still a cold winter overall, so the air was still crisp, but so pretty.  As we are driving, I spotted this nice little smokehouse on the side of the road and I had to quickly take a few photos.  The owner was a little bitter, as you may be able to determine via the photos of her now abandoned “out of business” smokehouse. Alabama

Alabama smokehouse

Sweet home Alabama

Now, I could not make this stuff up if I tried.  I have never seen a cotton field.  I have seen a lot of corn fields, but definitely NO cotton fields, so the other weekend I drove with my husband to deliver some venison (that just sounds better than deer meat) to a man in Alabama that makes “venison” into fabulous sausage.  I literally made him pull over so I could take a picture and of course I had to touch it (the cotton) – which by the way is not always a good idea, to get out of a car along a highway in Alabama to touch someones cotton, those folks do not like this, but I did get a picture and my children thought it was very funny, so it was actually worth that little stop.


Ok, so now we are back in the car heading to Alabama and this place is actually only about an hour in a half away from our house.  We got there and this man was so sweet.  He must have thought we had lost our minds (well, let me rephrase, he must have thought I had lost my mind).  I asked him if I could take pictures because I was just having a picture taking kind of day.  I have never seen such a thing.  Now I am not really fond of deer meat (sorry , I know it is not a bad thing, it is just a bit gamey for me and I do my hunting at our local grocery store) but this is the best sausage I think I have ever had.  It is called Smokehouse Deer Processing in Lowery, Alabama and it was worth the drive.  They also are part of a group called “Hunter Helping the Hungry” where they give excess meat to needy families, just really nice people and really really good sausage.

Sausage Guy