The magical tea bag

We are roadtripping these days, on our way to Florida for a few days of theme parks. No, not Disney. We've done Disney. We wanted to do the other ones this time. We love theme parks. The rides, especially. I always loved thrill rides, and I'm delighted that my kids also enjoy them. I'm excited because I got a huge deal on Six Flags season tickets last fall ($53/person for unlimited access to any and all parks for a whole year, parking included), and I can hardly wait for the nice weather to come back to Canada so we can go hit La Ronde.

So yes. Florida. Which can be done on a budget provided you plan right and execute the plan according to, well, plan. That means driving instead of flying, and staying at budget hotels. Oh, and saying No to children who want all manner of treats on the way down. See, kids, the big treat is Universal... Try to behave grateful.

Another way we manage to make these trips work is on the food front. We don't go to restaurants much. We go to grocery stores instead. I always travel with a few insulated bags to store my things, a few empty plastic containers to store/serve food, a few utensils, and a sponge/detergent kit to wash dishes in my hotel at night. Amazing how much money (and time) you save that way. And how much healthier you eat...

Plus - and this is where we reach the point of this post - you discover all kinds of fun things about the places you're visiting on you way. There's this big Giant Eagle on the side of the highway in Frederick MD that I like to stop at whenever I'm in the neighbourhood. I went there yesterday. Dropped Dad and the kids at the deli counter so they could order themselves a salad or sandwich, and went merrily on my way through the giant labyrinth of aisles filled with products both familiar and not.

I love doing that. I love exploring a grocery store, seeing what kinds of food people tend to eat. And I love to try new things, such as melon kombucha, Lapsang Souchong and Prince of Wales teas from Twinings. We have that brand of tea where I live, but not those particular varieties. I tried them both in my hotel room this morning and find them both delish. I'm planning to grab myself a few boxes on the way home. I also tried a container of some Cajun fish spread that was made in-store. It had cream cheese, some bits of fish, cheese and spices - and it was crazy good.

I'm looking forward to another grocery-store expedition in Georgia later today, very much including finding a new kind of craft beer I haven't tried yet. I find much joy in these small, inexpensive pleasures. They help put a little sunshine in my heart.

The new me: ideally smaller than the old me

Oh, blah