Facts and Fascinations About My Trip to Florida

We just got back from a glorious vacation in Siesta Key, Florida.  At the recommendation of some of my readers (thank you!!) we stayed near Crescent Beach and it couldn’t have been more stunning.  The gorgeous soft white powdery sand blew me away.  I loved that it wasn’t hot to walk on, even in 98 degree temps.

However our trip didn’t start out so great.  In fact just three hours before we were due to fly out we nearly had to cancel the whole thing.  I’m wondering if it’s even possible for travel not to be chaotic because seriously I wouldn’t know.   It seems when I fly anywhere chaos follows and this most recent trip was no exception.

We all arrived at the airport at 5:00 am last week.  My kids were flying on their own to Toronto to stay with their grandparents for two weeks.  My hubby and I were then set to fly out two hours after them on a different airline to Florida.   The problem started when the Air Canada ticket agent took one look at my kids, asked their ages and then promptly told me that there was no way my 5 year old would be allowed to fly without an escort over 16 (my daughter is only 14).

Umm, come again?

At no time was I ever told this during the booking of the tickets.  I didn’t even have the option to pay to have him accompanied by a flight attendant because apparently all accompanied minors have to be over eight so my older two could go but not my youngest.  That so wasn’t going to work.  Since my kids had flown by themselves the year before with West Jet (another Cdn airline) without any hassles I really hadn’t anticipated this at all.  What I didn’t realize (because no one ever told me) was that the two airlines have two totally different policies regarding children flying alone.

So here we were early early in the morning (and I am so not a morning person) being told we would not be able to get the kids to Ontario which meant no way for my husband and I to get on our own flight to Florida.  Talk about stress!  I was so close to tears as were my kids.  They had been looking forward to this trip for months, counting the days down on the calendar when they would get to see their grandparents and cousins again.

Deep breath.

Think, think, think.

That’s when we pulled an Amazing Race.  At least that’s what it felt like.  I rushed my family down to the West Jet ticket counter and prayed we would be able to book them on a flight within the next hour or two.   I have never booked a ticket so last minute before but they had space on a flight leaving at 8:00, the same time as my flight was scheduled to leave.  Thank you God!!

They allowed me to usher the kids through security and take them right to their gate.  I had to leave them there to wait on their own for about an hour and a half but they did absolutely fine…yay for Nintendo DS!

My husband and I then rushed down to the International area of the airport, through customs, through security and on to our flight!

We made it, the kids made it and it all worked out in the end.  Well except of course for the extra $3000.00 it cost me to rebook with another airline.  Still not sure how we will pay for that but I’m going to be writing a letter to AC asking them to cover the cost.  Updated to add:  They did!!  So thankful to Air Canada for doing the right thing!!!

So despite that small (ha!) little hiccup we did go on to have a fantastic time.  It was so nice to see the ocean again.  In BC we use to live right on the coast so I have been missing it that is for sure now that we live in Alberta.

So here, in no particular order, is a list of some of the highlights of our trip and a few other things that fascinate me.  It really takes so little 🙂

1.  Traveling is not my friend.  Relaxing on the beach however is.  Too bad the two have to go hand in hand.

2.  McDonalds in the US sell delicious Smoothies.  I have no idea why they don’t sell them in Canada.

3.  It fascinates me that ocean water can be so warm.

4.  In Florida u-turns are legal, how cool is that?

5.  Shell seeking should be a professional sport.  It’s so much fun and totally addicting!

6.  I loved checking out Ross, Marshalls and Target but boy was it hard to restrain myself from buying up the stores.

7.  Target has the biggest display of 3M Command hooks I’ve ever seen.

8.  They also have a huge selection of organizing stuff…the drool coming out of my mouth was just embarrassing.

9.  United charges you $25.00 per checked bag which means so many people just getting by with carry-on bags.  BUT there are limits for a reason people, stop holding up the line trying to shove your four oversized bags into the overhead bins.

10.  Lounging around reading just didn’t get old for me.  I thought it would.

11.  As much as I love swimming in the ocean, salt water makes me gag.

12.  There is something so romantic about watching gorgeous sunsets with your honey.

13.  I wore every single thing I packed which makes the $25.00 I had to spend to check my bag totally worth it!

14.  I am a sucker for souvenir/gift shops.  I’m pretty sure I checked out every single one 🙂

15.  I was thrilled to find a Siesta Key ball cap to fit my ginormous head.  No easy feat let me tell you.

16.  It is just so wrong that you cannot buy Ketchup chips in the US.  You really are missing out.

17.  The Hub in the Siesta Key village makes the BEST margaritas.  Yum!

18.  98 degrees is HOT, thank God for air conditioning and cold showers.

19.  Yahtzee to Go came in handy on rainy afternoons.  I especially love it when I win.  Yahtzee!

20.  I loved Siesta Key so much I’d go back in a heartbeat, even with all the traveling chaos!

What fascinated you this past week?

Filed under: My Life


53 Responses to Facts and Fascinations About My Trip to Florida

  1. 1
    Melissa says

    Just browsing around looking for some new ideas for organizing (I’m also an organizing nut) and came across your site and saw the post about Siesta Key. I live in Sarasota about 5 mins from Siesta Key and spend a lot of time there. I enjoyed your observations. I never knew U-turns were something you couldn’t do!
    Glad you enjoyed our beach :)))

    • 1.1
      Laura says

      Oh wow, you live in such a beautiful area. I really was blown away by it. We drove around a little bit in Sarasota and did some shopping and eating there. Loved every minute of it!

  2. 2
    Brandi Mills says

    You can buy Ketchup chips in Maine. 🙂 (Although, that’s pretty close to Canada, so maybe that doesn’t count?)

    • 2.1
      The Chatty Housewife says

      Yes, Ketchup chips are slowly making their way into the USA, but not Old Dutch Brand, which are the best in my opinion!

    • 2.2
      Skooks says

      Yes . . . I live in MI and I’ve definitely seen ketchup chips around before.

    • 2.3
      Andrea says

      You can buy them some places in Mississippi, too 🙂

  3. 3
    Rachel says

    I’m so glad you had a good time in the US and that everything worked out smoothly (in the end). 🙂 Hubby and I are acutally talking about taking a trip to Toronto next year, so I’ll have to pick your brain about what we should see/do while we’re there!

    McDonald’s smoothies are the best…I love the new Pineapple Mango one! It just oozes tropical-ness. 😉

  4. 4
    Liz @ Wonder Woman I'm Not says

    I’m glad you had a nice trip, cannot imagine the stress trying to get the kids on the plane!!

  5. 5
    Jennifer says

    Glad to hear it all went well! I am in Florida (Tampa) and never have made it to Siesta Key, I always get stuck at Anna Maria Island! Whoa, U-turns are illegal for you? So many times wish they were here since so many accidents occur b/c of people NOT paying attention! I agree, we are missing out on ketchup chips! Did you even bother trying to venture to our infamous OUTLET MALLS?

    Glad you had fun!

    • 5.1
      Laura says

      No u-turns allowed here. I would have loved to have gone outlet mall shopping. We didn’t stray too far from the Key though. Just a little for dinner and a bit of shopping at the dept stores.

      Such a beautiful place to live!!

      • The Chatty Housewife says

        How I understand it (I grew up in Canada, and now live in the USA) u-turns are illegal at intersections in Canada unless marked as legal and legal at American intersections unless marked as illegal. It was confusing for me when I moved!

  6. 6
    raven says

    There are a LOT of things either not available or hard to find here in the US, from Canada.

    Chips: All Dressed; Ketchup; Pickle; another I can’t remember
    Candy: Violet Crumble; Flake; Aero; Crunchie; Smarties (here they are a chalky, uncoated tablet); Macintosh Toffee

    And a slew of other things. At least we get Kraft Dinner, even if they name it weird here 😉 I’ve gotten lucky though and more shops are starting to carry more imports. I was able to buy an Aero bar at a Kroger last week. thought I’d died and gone to heaven!

    • 6.1
      Skooks says

      Aren’t Smarties in Canada the same as Sprees in the US? Or am I thinking of something else . . . ?

      • raven says

        Nope, Sprees are hard, candy coated sour/sweet chalkies. The closest thing to Canadian Smarties we have are plain M&M’s.. and they do NOT taste the same. IMO.

  7. 7
    April says

    I live in the US and have only been to Florida once. 🙁 It is a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing the pictures, it took me back to when I had my trip. Me and my hubby are planning on taking another trip to Florida this winter if everything works out right. Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  8. 8
    tle says

    Gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing

  9. 9
    Nonna Beach says

    Loved this post ! We have cousins in Sarasota and love going to visit that beautiful area of Florida !

    BTW, when WE watch our grandkids , we go to THEM and our kids pay for our flights when they travel for fun or business…just sayin’

    • 9.1
      Laura says

      Oh that’s an idea!!

  10. 10
    Brittany says

    HAHAHA, I loved your list of things that fascinate you! I am from Ohio and agree with you on Siesta being the best beach! I could really become a beach bum without too much thought!
    I also laughed at the “u turns are legal”, that continues to be a shock to me every time I come down to Sarasota! I just mentioned this to my friend and he said “what? thats not legal everywhere?”
    And as for the ketchup chips… I was lucky enough to find them at Walmart 2 months ago but it was a special thing and they quickly sold out. They used to sell them at Save-a-lot and they are a fave of my kids, so it really does stink that we can’t get them anymore!
    Glad you enjoyed your vacation but that stinks that you had all those last minute changes.

  11. 11
    Marea says

    Oh dear Lord I hear you on the checked luggage / carry on debacle. WTF is it with people trying to carry on their entire fricken wardrobes?! And, more importantly, WTF are they NOT STOPPED at the damn gate???!!! Ugh.

    Thrilled things worked out for you and yours. I can’t imagine how stressful that start must have been! But sand is gooooood as soaking up worries and stresses.

  12. 12
    Tammy says

    Yup, you can buy ketchup chips in NY

  13. 13
    Debbi Does Dinner Healthy says

    Oh my on the $3000 for the extra flight cost, what do you do though?! I would have done the same thing, so glad it worked out and everyone had fun!

    • 13.1
      Laura says

      It was a tough decision for sure plus it was 5:00 in the morning…I’m so not a morning person LOL

  14. 14
    Donna says

    “It is just so wrong that you cannot buy Ketchup chips in the US. You really are missing out.” Funny. Just the other day, walking through the chip aisle, I asked my husband if he’d ever heard of Ketchup chips (since he works in a grocery store…and you’ve mentioned them once or twice). He said when he traveled to Vermont (before he met me), they drove into Canada just to buy ketchup chips and spruce beer 🙂

  15. 15
    christina says

    You can also buy ketchup chips in Illinois. So far I can only find them at Menards which I happen to think is pretty funny. I mean really, a hardware store selling the coveted ketchup chips? No matter, I am just glad that I can get them after hearing you rave about them! Glad you had a great vacation. I love Florida vacations.

  16. 16
    Karen Veon says

    Hi there

    I knew I recognized that beach! I am blessed to be able to call Sarasota home. (Though originally from the UK, I now live in Paradise)

    Thanks for sharing your visit and pictures,

    Glad you had a nice time on Siesta Key, seems like it was worth it in the end!

    Come back soon!

    • 16.1
      Laura says

      Stunning, you absolutely do live in paradise!!!

  17. 17
    Living the Balanced Life says

    I love your pics. And hearing you talk about Canada too makes me long even more for the days when Hubby and I will RV in the South during the winter and then head North, even into Canada, for the summer! Glad you had a great time. Would be interesting to here how the airlines issue turns out. Should try tweeting about it? Social media has a way of getting things done!
    I have a swiss cheese brain

  18. 18
    Becky L says

    Laura, so glad you were able to go on your trip after all the hassles. I can’t believe airlines don’t tell you the rules for children that are flying. You’d think with an older sibling would be ok. Sigh! Loved the photos and I love the beach as well, even though Oregon is much colder but we have nice days. I love it there and hope to go sometime again. We spent a few days in April, on southern Oregon coast. So pretty! Take care! What fascinated me this week is my hydrangeas are a different color than they were last year and just loving them!

    • 18.1
      Laura says

      I love hydrangeas, that is neat about the changing colors.

  19. 19
    Kel says

    California loves medians, so there are lots of places here in Sacramento where it’s only possible to make a U-turn, and we have to make them often. The best part: U-turn arrows! I have a picture on my blog (scroll waaaaaaay down in this post):


  20. 20
    Mel S says

    Loved your post. And glad you enjoyed Florida. I live in St. Petersburg and am now planning a jaunt down to Siesta Key – our beaches are so crowded here and your pics looked so relaxing. Yep, gonna do that soonest!

    Melinda S

    • 20.1
      Laura says

      Crescent Beach was so amazing and not all that crowded which was so nice!

  21. 21
    Danielle says

    Um, last I checked international flights one checked luggage is free. When we flew to Costa Rica from the states we had to remind the airlines of that cause we had a 10 hour layover in Georgia so they thought it was domestic. It was all connected so the checked luggage was free. My cousin didn’t realize this either until we met up in Georgia. She spent some time that mornining getting her money back. Same coming back to the states from CR, free checked luggage. You may want to look into that too cause you may be owed money there to.

  22. 22
    Tiffany says

    Sounds like you needed a vacation after the airport trouble. I’m glad it worked out. And now I really want a ketchup chip…

  23. 23
    Carol says

    I live in South/Central Florida – on a lake, not the beach. Love your pictures, but you really need to go down to the Keys on your next trip. Beautiful!!! Glad you worked everything out with the kids. Have to ask, what are ketchup chips????? My husband and I have traveled all over the US and Canada (were fulltime RVer’s for two years) and I have never seen or heard of them.

    • 23.1
      Laura says

      I thought where I was was the Keys, no? Ketchup chips are ketchup flavored chips and they are my absolute favorite. So good!!

      • Carol says

        No, no, no – you were on the west coast of central Florida – no where near the Keys. The Keys are down below Miami – South Florida. – I’m sure even Canadians have heard of Key West, Key Largo (made famous by the Beach Boys), and Marathon. LOL! Well, I’m going to have to look for ketchup chips – I’m sure my youngest daughter would LOVE them!

        • Laura says

          Oh thanks for explaining that to me!!

          • Carol says

            You’ll love “the” Keys IF you ever get a chance to get down that far south. Thanks for explaining what ketchup chips are – I’ll have to look for them for my daughter – I’m sure she would love them, especially if she could dip them in mayo!

  24. 24
    Elizabeth says

    We have McDonalds smoothies in Newfoundland, Canada. I’m pretty sure they’re everywhere! Maybe your McDonalds is a little slow with new launches. We’ve had them for about a year. my daughter loves them!

  25. 25
    Connie says

    I live about 30 minutes South of Siesta. Not even one mention on the white sand at the beach! It’s the reason Siesta is the 3rd most beautiful beach in the US according to the travel channel beachy countdown I watched last weel! LOL! I am so glad you had a great vacation and enjoyed the area.. come back any time.


  26. 26
    Connie says

    Just kidding! You mentioned the white sand more than once!!

  27. 27
    Susan says

    I loved your post! Real life adventure – curious if you wouldn’t mind sharing where you stayed? Or did I miss that in the post? My family is looking for a vacation spot and as you were sharing this I thought maybe this would be our next vacation destination – thanks!

  28. 28
    Stephanie says

    We DO have ketchup chips in the US! I know that the Herr’s potato chip company out of Pennsylvania makes some, but have not seen any made by other companies. Not everyone carries them and Herr’s only distributes to certain areas of the US. Not my cup of tea, but I’m sorry you weren’t able to get them where you vacationed! (I prefer plain or dill pickle chips!)

  29. 29
    belle says

    Am I the only person who read this entire thing and was floored at the idea of leaving 3 kids (one of whom is only FIVE!) alone and unsupervised for 90 minutes in a busy airport? I have enough trouble swallowing putting young children on a plane alone (what if something happens and whoever is meeting them at the other end is delayed and not there?) but dropping them at the gate for 90 minutes to hop your own plane? *shakes head*

    I’m not in the habit of showing up on others’ blogs to bash them, truly. I’m a regular, longtime reader via GoogleReader, but this just shocked me. It also shocks me that at least 28 other people read this (based on the comments) and don’t seem to find anything troubling about it.

    • 29.1
      Laura says

      Hi Belle, I want to assure you that if at any moment I thought the kids wouldn’t be okay, I wouldn’t have left them. Not for one second. I went with them through security and directly to their gate. The West Jet staff was there and were aware they were flying on their own and kept an eye on them. My daughter is a very mature 14 year old and we were also texting each other the entire time. Believe me I am a very protective mom and I felt very comfortable with this decision. I must say West Jet is an awesome airline and were very helpful and kind.

      I do appreciate your concern.

  30. 30
    Pam says

    I live in Massachusetts but Siesta Key is my ALL TIME favorite place to watch a sunset….. I only wish I had discovered it before 2004…… Will be there mid September and cannot wait to put my feet in that sand – nothing like it…. and the best part of all? my grandkids live about a few miles down the street…… so anticipating a snuggling sunset for sure!!

  31. 31
    Tracy @ Cotton Pickin Cute says

    Hi Laura, I’m so glad you had a wonderful relaxing vacation once you got past the airport. I live in N.E. Florida (almost Georgia). I’m wishing for a trip down South now.

    Have a great week…… Tracy@CottonPickinCute


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