Hi everyone! Matt, the kids and I spent last week in the Outer Banks (specifically Duck) for our annual beach trip with Matt’s family.
Here’s a recap featuring the meals and some of our adventures.
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We’ve been going to Duck for a week in July for a decade now! Those of you with kids know that travel with small children (especially a 2 year old) is definitely not something that leaves you feeling recharged and rejuvenated, but it was fun to be with everyone and the kids had a blast running around with their cousins (boys age 9, 7, and 3) and some family friend’s kids (who stayed in a separate house) and doing lots of swimming.
I have always loved swimming so I really enjoy the swim-heavy aspect of the trip, too! The ocean is my absolute favorite – I wish I could spend all day swimming around and jumping over the waves. I’m excited for when the kids are older and can play in the waves with me – going to be a game changer!
It took Wes some time to warm up to the ocean – he was quite scared for the first part of the week – but he got into it a bit towards the end of the trip and wanted to be held in the waves or at the shore and lifted up when the surf came.
We also brought a baby pool down to the beach with us a few of the days and that ended up being a hit with the kids, which was great because it meant we could actually relax for a second!
If we took the kids to the beach it was always in the morning, then we headed back to the house for lunch and to get Wes down for his nap around 1. It always felt like we had finally settled in at the beach when it was time to head back! Oh well. Trips like this will get easier as especially Wes gets older and once he drops his nap.
We had a pool at our house so once Wes was down for his nap we typically spent those hours hanging out with the big kids in the pool. Riese made a lot of progress practicing swimming without her floaties in the pool this week, which was cool to see! Can’t wait until she can do underwater tea parties and handstand competitions with me. 😉
As for non-beach and pool adventures, I went to an early yoga class a few of the mornings, which was super nice. I love Village Yoga in Duck and always make a point to get over there when we are in town!
I went once with my sister in law Morgana, once with Morgana and our other sister in law Jess, and then once solo, always to their 8am classes so I was back in time for beach/pool fun.
One of the things I love about Duck is their long and beautiful boardwalk over the water on the sound side. We took the kids out there one cloudy morning to have a break from the water and had fun exploring.
Usually Matt and I try to get out for a run or two together while in Duck (sometimes with our friend Thomas, who is also there with his family at the same time) but it didn’t happen this year unfortunately – it just felt like too much to ask his parents to cover both kids for us during prime morning hours, especially because they babysat one of the evenings so a big group of us could go out. And it was way too hot to try to go when Wes was napping!
Oh well. Yoga felt really good and Matt made it out for a hot run one of the mornings without me. Maybe next year! I ended up not running at all this year because yoga sounded nicer if I didn’t have a running buddy, especially with how hot and humid it was!
Speaking of hot and humid – the town of Duck does a cute 4th of July parade. It was toasty out but we snagged a shady spot and the big kids loved it, especially since people were passing out candy. Our favorite float was this one where a guy was randomly taking a bath! Very creative.
Wes was not super excited about the parade and mostly tried to run off and explore instead, or wanted to be held; we were all tired and sweaty by the time we made it back to the house!
Let’s move on to the food from the week!
For breakfast I had some combination of the following every day: toast with nut butter, seasonal fruit (melon, peaches, berries, etc.) and an egg muffin (just like my Scrambled Egg Muffins except not homemade – Matt and I got them from Balducci’s in VA and brought them with us).
I discovered the egg muffins were extra good with salsa, guac and hot sauce! It was really convenient having them on hand for a quick morning protein option.
Lunches were mostly leftovers or simple sandwiches, and usually eaten by the pool at our house once Wes was napping. I made tacos with some leftovers two of the days (more on the dinner those came from later) – this one had leftover white fish as the protein:
One day Matt made us sandwiches with turkey, cheese, pickles, etc.:
And another day I made tuna sandwiches for me and Riese:
Riese and I had the rest of the tuna salad the following day for a beach lunch; Matt had taken Wes back for his nap by this point. This was the only day we stayed at the beach over lunch and Riese and I had fun hanging out together just the two of us until mid afternoon!
The way dinners work on the trip is we usually have a couple nights where we are in a big group with our friends in the other house, one night where the kids stay home with the grandparents and the parents get to go out, and then each family signs up for a night.
We signed up for the first night of the trip, and to make things easy this year we ended up deciding to bring food with us – we got a ready to eat fajita meal from Balducci’s (a local grocery store/catering place – we got the egg muffins from there too) and honestly it ended up being delicious and saving us a TON of stress.
It’s just so chaotic and busy with all the kids and not having to worry about making it to the grocery store and prepping a big group dinner was amazing. We just heated everything up and it was ready to go!
(We discovered Balducci’s catering when our friends brought it with them for our Poconos trip recently – genius. 10/10 would do this again for sure for future group trips.)
I decided to go for the steak and made some massive loaded tacos. The Mexican street corn was delicious too!
On Monday, we had my brother in law and sister in law’s specialty: peanut pasta! Drew and Morgana make this every year for the group and it’s so good. I love it so much that there’s a variation on the blog if you want to try it: Creamy Peanut Butter Noodles.
It was delicious as always, and the side arugula salad hit the spot, too.
The third night of the trip was a big group gathering at our family friend’s house around the corner. We did a big BBQ for the 4th of July; I had a burger and a hot dog plus some baked beans – and went back for watermelon after this picture!
The party was kind of stressful because their house has a lot of separate rooms and balconies and levels so it’s hard to keep track of the kids, and Wes ended up wandering off when both Matt and I thought the other was watching him, ugh. So, not exactly relaxing but fun to see everyone.
I took Wes back to our house for bed after dinner and Matt stayed with Riese – she was thrilled to do sparklers and have popsicles and hang out late with all the older kids for 4th of July. I couldn’t see any fireworks from our house’s balcony but I was treated to a beautiful sunset once I got Wes to sleep!
On Wednesday, we had our night out with Matt’s brother and their wives as well as our friends Tom and Janice from the other house! A big thank you to the grandparents for making it happen for us – much appreciated a night off!
Like last year, we grabbed an early dinner at NC Coast (delicious – hot tip, get there quite early to get a table – we arrived at 4:30 and snagged the last big one!). We had lots of chips and dips and raw oysters to share to start, and then for my dinner I ended up deciding on two appetizers – a strawberry salad with scallops and some roasted oysters with pimento cheese and pork belly. It was all delicious!
After dinner, we walked along the boardwalk over to Eventide, a cute spot right on the water, and had some more drinks and sunset views.
On Thursday night, we had another big combined group party, but this time it was at our place and it was a Hawaiian luau themed pool party!
My father-in-law went all out with the prep for it – check out this menu! He and my mother-in-law are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year in Hawaii, so this was a fun nod to their future adventures and I loved all the notes he added in about each dish and its origins!
Here’s the whole spread (taken a little late as I missed the unveiling because I was upstairs feeding Wes… he couldn’t handle eating out by the pool and kept trying to swim)!
My plate with a side of Wes + Matt back in the pool (I was in the pool with Wes for the first hour of the party, then Matt gave him a bath and got him dressed before dinner and of course he just wanted to get right back in so we gave up and got him back in his swimsuit for more swimming after he ate):
My mango salsa recipe (with optional habanero and jalapeno on the side) made an appearance, yum! It went beautifully with the pork and chicken.
For dessert, we had shave ice! The kids loved it!
Plus key lime pie, coconut pudding, coconut banana bread cake…
And pineapple with this super unique spice “plum powder” – have you tried it? Apparently it’s hugely popular in Hawaii! It had a really interesting flavor, kind of sweet and savory at the same time.
The luau was really fun – the kids had a blast in the pool, the food was delicious, and it was nice that everyone was in one place so we could hang out and chat a bit more than the earlier party. Win all around!
Our final dinner of the trip on Friday was pizza! We kept it easy and had some side salads and leftover chicken to clean out the fridge, too.
The others stayed until the next morning, but Matt and I have vowed to not do any more day drives to/from the beach anymore after one year took us 9 hours (it should be 4.5), so we headed out after dinner on Friday.
It was an easy, quick drive with no traffic and the kids slept. Home by midnight and so nice to wake up in our own beds.
Another OBX week in the books. Thank you for the fun times – until next year, Duck!